Looking Ahead to the 2017 Business Meeting, part 1 (EPH+ and my proposed amendment)
(See http://www.worldcon.fi/files/agenda_2017.pdf for the agenda items and text. Current text of the Constitution is at http://www.wsfs.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/WSFS-Constitution-as-of-August-22-2016.pdf ).
C.6 EPH+ (up for ratification at Worldcon 75, I am a co-sponsor)
Proposed action: I propose that we amend EPH+ to provide that for any year in which the finalist selection procedure of E Pluribus Hugo (section 3.9 of the current constitution) is in effect, the previous year’s business meeting may vote to adopt the calculation procedure of EPH+ instead (exact wording of the amendment to be determined). This amendment may cause the amended EPH+ to require an additional year for ratification if it is not ruled to be a “lesser change.”
Rationale: E Pluribus Hugo (EPH) was one of two anti-slating provisions ratified by the MidAmericon II business meeting. EPH+ is effectively the “extra strength” version of EPH – it has a stronger anti-slate effect than pure EPH (averaging around one extra non-slate nomination per category for slates of various sizes in one study), but it also can change the results more in the absence of slates.
In ratifying EPH last year, we adopted an amendment that allows any business meeting prior to 2022 to suspend the effect of EPH for the following year (only). My proposed amendment would allow each such business meeting to choose between “no EPH”, “EPH”, and “EPH+” for tallying the following year’s Hugo nominations, with the default being “use EPH” if the business meeting takes no action.
My proposed amendment recognizes that we are currently in a dynamic environment in which it is not completely clear which combination of measures should be used to best limit the effects of slates on the nominations in a given year. Over the past 3 years, we have seen three different strategies adopted by the primary slate to affect the nominations. I believe their efforts will likely continue, and we should not assume that the specific countermeasures which were reasonably effective in 2017 will be just as effective in future years. Therefore, I favor giving the business meeting each year maximum flexibility to choose countermeasures within the scope of the constitution in response to what has happened in previous years.
Based on the results of the 2017 Hugo nominations, I don’t think we will need the extra strength (and side-effects) of EPH+ for 2018, especially if we adopt 3SV this year. But we might want it for future years, depending on what happens next. If we just vote EPH+ down, it would take two more years to bring it back. By amending as I propose, it could be available the very next year, starting as early as 2019, if the business meeting in a given year decides they need a “bigger anti-slate hammer” for the next year’s Hugos.
Proposed Amendment text:
Moved, to amend EPH+ so that the proposed change to section 3.9.1 (1) of the constitution reads as follows, with
deleted and inserted text:
(1) Calculation Phase: First, the total number of nominations (the number of
ballots on which each nominee appears) from all eligible ballots shall be tallied
for each remaining nominee. Next,
a single “point” shall be assigned to each nomination ballot. That point shall be divided equally among all remaining nominees on that ballot. a point or fraction thereof shall be assigned to each remaining nominee in accordance with section (a) below unless the preceding year’s business meeting has authorized the use of section (b) below instead for this year. Finally, all points from all nomination ballots shall be totaled for each nominee in that category. These two numbers, point total and number of nominations, shall be used in the Selection and Elimination Phases.
(a): Regular point schedule: a single “point” shall be assigned to each
nomination ballot. That point shall be divided equally among all remaining
nominees on that ballot.
(b): EPH+ point schedule: each nomination ballot shall give a point or fraction thereof to each remaining nominee on that ballot, according to the number of such remaining nominees, using the following pattern (known in voting theory as “Sainte-Laguë divisors”):1 point for 1 remaining nominee, 1/3 of a point each for 2 remaining nominees, 1/5 of a point each for 3 remaining nominees, 1/7 of a point each for 4 remaining nominees, and 1/9 of a point each for 5 remaining nominees (extending this pattern as needed if a ballot legally has more remaining nominees).