The Weasel King (theweaselking) wrote,
The Weasel King

An important note for Hugo voting.

More so this year than most years, it's important to understand how voting "No Award" works.

The Teal Deer: If you want to vote No Award over something, put No Award at the end of your ballot and DO NOT list the things you're voting No Award over.

Basically, if you put something on your ballot AT ALL, you risk your vote going to that thing, especially since "No Award" is most often the first thing eliminated. The reason it works that way is a little counterintuitive, until you realise that No Award is just another candidate on the ballot.

For an example showing the problem, let's take perennial No-Award-voting favourite category, "Best Doctor Who Episode Written By Stephen Moffat". In 2012, the candidates were Community, some dude having a meltdown at the previous year's Hugo awards, and three largely indistinguishable Doctor Who episodes written by Stephen Moffat, Neil Gaiman aping the style of Stephen Moffat, and Tom MacRae.

Let's imagine your ballot. You are a sensible person of good taste! You want Community to win and all the other options to die in a fire.

You SHOULD vote:
1. Community
2. No Award

The naive model of Hugo voting that a great many people have might make this mistake, though: Because they want the other options to die in a fire, but ESPECIALLY hate that one dude's meltdown and the particularly bad Stephen Moffat episode, they might vote like this
1. Community
2. No Award
3. Some dude having a meltdown onstage
4. Stephen Moffat.

And, y'see, that's bad. Because of how the vote counting works, many people THINK they're "leaving off" Tom MacRae and Neil Gaiman but making extra sure to "downvote" Moffat and Some Dude, when actually they're voting *for* Some Dude and Stephen Moffat *over* MacRae and Gaiman.

Because the voters in this category historically have poor taste, let's imagine the first-round of ballots runs:

Moffat: 40
MacRae: 30
Some Dude: 30
No Award: 10
Community: 1. You are the only person with taste this hypothetical year, hypothetical Hugo Voter.

So, Community is eliminated, and all the first-place Community votes (yours) now go to their second choice: No Award. Which is now last and *it* is eliminated, which dumps all the votes for it (including yours) to the next choice down. In your case, Some Dude.

Let's pretend the 10 people who stuck No Award first really did mean it and didn't list anything, so their votes now vanish. This leaves the current voting as:

Moffat: 40
Some Dude: 31 <- your vote went here!
MacRae: 30

... and MacRae is now last, and is eliminated.

Congratulations, Hugo Voter. You just eliminated Tom MacRae by throwing your support to Some Dude, when you *meant* to say that Some Dude was so terrible that the only person he should lose to this year is Stephen Moffat and you were actually somewhat okay with Tom MacRae even if you didn't think Doctor Who should be mistaken for "best of the year".

The point is, voting No Award is a useful tool! But anything you list after No Award is going to get your vote and your support BEFORE things that aren't listed at all. So don't do that. If your ballot goes:

1. No Award
2. Chlamydia
3. David Duke

and you leave off the rest of the possibilities because you haven't read them or don't care, then when No Award is eliminated (it almost always is eliminated first, or second if one of the nominees is L Ron Hubbard), your vote goes to Chlamydia. And when Chlamydia is eliminated, you've now voted for the Grand Wizard. So *do not* list people you genuinely do not want to get the award below No Award. List No Award last, and do not list them at all. Things you list under No Award can and possibly *will* get your vote.[1]

And now you know! And don't fucking vote for Doctor Fucking Who, seriously people. It's okay, but it's certainly not the best TV the year has produced.

For everyone who doesn't care about this style of voting or nerd awards but has still read this far, here's a ninja astronaut airsurfing a Draculabot:

 photo drmcninja.png

[1]: I am ignoring the No Award Test, because it complicates the example unnecessarily.
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