Show of Hands
Posted on April 12, 2008 Posted by John Scalzi 96 Comments
Elsewhere in the Internets, someone is suggesting that my noting the Locus Awards to you all yesterday and offering up cut and paste titles for my works therein is a bit much: “implication is that you are encouraging your fans to vote for your stuff, even if they haven’t read it, or any other eligible material.”
So, go and read the whole entry again. Then, show of hands: How many of you believe that the implicit messaging of the entry was that you should vote for my stuff, even if you haven’t read it, or any other eligible material? Likewise, how many of you would vote for a work of mine to receive an award, without reading the work, because I (either explicitly or implicitly) suggested you should?
Hmmm…. You mean this part that I cut and pasted?
“You shouldn’t vote for any of these just because I mention them here, of course. Actually vote for your favorite books and stories (and SF editors/publishers) from the last year.”
Perhaps you should post the link to “Hooked on Phonics” for those who can’t read.
Just because people can read an entry…..doesn’t mean they are smart enough to to understand what you are saying.
there is a severe lack of critical thinking skills in the world today!!
If there is an open vote for an award it is your right to point us in that direction. Self promotion is part of your job. Of course with an online, open vote your prominence as a blogger gives you an advantage. Oh well. I’m sure awards that require a paid membership for participation might favor others.
Second hand proof is found that the Internets are THE best place to seek outrage.
Film at 11.
It appears to be “bag on Scalzi” week across the internets. And also “ignore what he actually said in order to assign a nefarious purpose to what he does.”
I thought you were pretty clear that people were free to vote for whom ever they liked. Since you explicitly stated that in your post.
>How many of you believe that the implicit messaging of >the entry was that you should vote for my stuff
>even if you haven’t read it
I didn’t get that.
>Likewise, how many of you would vote for a work of >mine to receive an award, without reading the work
>because I (either explicitly or implicitly) suggested you >should?
On the other hand, from your point of view, it never hurts to ask. Them as don’t ask, don’t get. You are in this for the money, after all, and awards never hurt a resume.
Oh please. I guess it’s easier to point fingers and lay blame rather than trusting that most people are not blathering idiots.
If it wasn’t for that previous post I would not have known about the Locus Awards, which was the most pertinent bit of information I got from the post.
Maybe we should rename it the Locust Awards since it is in such danger of being overrun by the John Scalzi Hoard.
I always do what Scalzi says, or even casuallly/inadvertantly suggests. I am a mindless robot. :)
Seriously, i read it as a plug, but not a pitch to vote for stuff I hadn’t read.
I thought it was helpful. Specially with the shorter works like Sagan’s Diary–I’m never sure which category the short stuff is supposed to go into.
I didn’t read it that way, but even if I had (or if you had intended it that way), I wouldn’t see anything wrong with it.
Making your fans aware of the awards and the voting procedures (i.e., that it’s free, open to fandom, and pointing them to the online form) doesn’t strike as unseemly. Hell, asking them to vote for you books if they think they’re superior to those of the other nominees doesn’t strike me as unseemly. It’s just part and parcel of reasonable self-promotion (a line would be crossed if a writer bad-mouthed the work of other nominees, but that’s obviously not what happened here).
Complaining about your post seems whiny, really.
I know you well enough to know that you meant everything you said at face value. BUT that post is also exactly how someone would phrase it if they wanted people to vote for them but didn’t want to get caught asking for it. So, if someone reading it was used to people who use veiled requests, yeah, absolutely I can see why they’d think you were asking for people to vote for you.
There was no implicit message in your entry to vote for your stuff–you clearly stated that we should vote for our favorite books and stories whether you wrote them or not. I found no suggestion (implicit or explicit) to vote for your work if I hadn’t read it. For anyone to accuse you being of a puppetmaster, with us as your mindless thralls, is an insult to you and to us.
For some reason, the only message I got from the post was that I should put bacon on my cat…
What I got out of your entry was:
It was time again for the Locus awards.
You have some eligible works.
Please vote for the most deserving candidates.
If they should happen to be your works, you’ve made it easy to enter their names onto the ballot.
As far as I’m concerned, you’ve campaigned completely reasonably. On the internet, there is always room for an over-reaction or a strained interpretation. I think the person who thinks you want people to vote for works they haven’t read is guilty of one of those two.
Is this the test your subheader promised us a few days ago? I thought that was just a take-off on The Elements.
I thought you were clearly stating that the vote is open to all and to please go vote and how to format a write-in vote if you wanted to vote for something you didn’t see it in the existing lists.
Isn’t the sharing of links what blogs are at least partially for?
There is partisan linking and non-partisan linking. You’ve always been very clear which is which. This is the latter case, and I appreciated the thought.
Methinks somebody’s trying too hard to besmirch your reputation. It comes across as desperate and pinched and shrill.
I’m with Mary. And I’m troubled that even though you didn’t link to whoever is saying this (did they make some further argument that might make their point sound more reasonable in context?) people are slagging the author in personal terms based on a sentence fragment.
There would be irony there.
I didn’t link to it because it’s part of a larger (and even more pointless) kerfuffle, which is about me, even as it’s presented as “purely hypothetical.” But for those who are interested, the whole thread is here:
Well, some of us (like me) went to the link and voted for other people’s stuff! (In my case, Ragamuffin as best novel).
Ah, but I see you’ve edited the post to remove the whole part where you tell us to play a nice game of solitaire, then you wait until we see the queen of diamonds, and then you tell us about the Locus awards.
Sorry, John – The Last Colony was good, but Ragamuffin was better. Besides, Toby bought me a drink at Windycon, which is more then you’ve done for me!
(For the humor-impaired, all of the above is meant as a joke. Except for the fact that Toby and I did have drinks at Windycon.)
Well, Ragamuffin is a pretty sweet novel, now that you mention it. I hear it’s up for some sort of award. Aside from the Locus, that is.
That’s why I paid $50 for Denvention.
Heh. Then you messed up, Chris.
1. I didn’t get that from your original post.
2. Under specific and limited conditions, I probably would vote for something of yours I hadn’t read on the strength of you mentioning that it was eligible. And it would be in part because of your suggestion by way of the fact that I wasn’t aware of the possibility to vote at all prior to said suggestion.
If, in a given category, I didn’t recognize any of the other nominated works and I couldn’t think of anything I had read that was worth a write in, I’d probably vote your suggestion because I wouldn’t have known to be voting otherwise, and I have consistently liked your work as much or more than any currently active author I can think of (aka I have yet to set one of your books down and forget to finish reading it. There’s a very small pool of authors who fit that description.)
If in a given category, I have read some or all of the other mentioned stories and actively disliked them? For the same reasons as above, I’d probably go ahead and vote for your story.
There might be other situations that would apply, but I can’t think of them right now, and they would all require that there be no eligible story that I had both read and liked.
The fact that Locus actually put drop-downs menus with their “recommended reading” choices in the voting forms themselves (!!!) seems to open the door for others to remind people of their eligible works, too. In fact, given that you weren’t included in their list, it would be stupid not to make people aware of your eligible works since Locus chose not to.
Complaining that you are taking advantage of your blog’s popularity by simply providing the names of your works—-when the Locus choices are right there for the voter to pick with one easy click— is a bit of a stretch.
*sigh* there is no q.
Alas, I went with Ragamuffin as well. I enjoyed the hell out of The Last Colony as well, but I have a soft spot for Caribbean-tinged SF.
Apparently, ‘bag on Scalzi’ week extends to the Locus Awards. No hard feelings, John? Hey, what’s that creeping in the shadows? Is that a … a ninja? Hey, you there! What are you doi–
Hum, now if say Agent to the Stars, Accelerando!, and Carnival were all eligible for the same thing, I’d probably have to abstain since all three are by people with similar levels of trust based social currency for me and all three are books I haven’t yet read.
(embarrassed grin) – I knew there was a reason I paid the $50. It was Mary Robinette Kowal for the Campbell. You’ll probably get my vote for Last Colony. Unless one of the other authors buys me a drink, that is ;-)
Hmm… *Waves hand*
I for one do think the message was explicit enough that you encouraged your fans to vote for you (if they wanted to) and made it easy for them to do so. And it’s fine by me. Because even a rabid fan may not know when is the deadline or even what that Locus award is. Putting it before their eyes is no sin.
And yes, I would gladly vote for a book I hadn’t read if I liked the rest of the author’s work *very* much. Hey, I plan on reading it anyway! So why not vote when it’s up for an award?
And if there is other stuff I like and I have several choices, sure, I’ll vote for them too.
See? Nothing hypothetic, here. ;-)
Or, you know, you could read the books. Unless you had to pick right there. But most of the time, there’s time.
It’s interesting. Personally speaking from time to time I’ve voted on something I’ve not read, based on the author’s previous work, so I can’t say I see that as entirely out of bounds, behavioirally. But I’d have an aversion voting for something I’d not read if I thought the author was implicitly (or explicitly) saying “hey, vote for me anyway.” That’s kind of dickish. Which is one of the reasons I’m more than a little annoyed at the suggestion I would imply the same.
I read it as a typical Scalzi plug, which is part of what you do here. You plug your stuff, and also make an effort to plug other people’s stuff and make an extra effort to give your direct award (and genre) competitors exposure.
I think most of your plugs say, “I like to win awards/advance my Amazon ranking/whatever, so here is the info to nudge that along should you be so inclined…but I only like to win/etc. on the merits of my work as compared to the merits of the work of my competitors.” Which is why you plug ’em all.
I think most of the readers here get that.
The proponent of the argument that your post was simply intended to drive votes for your own stuff is one of those individuals who seem to think people find out about things by telepathic osmosis. That communication is a dirty word.
I have no patience with them and hence ignore.
Oh yeah, best of all worlds, I would have time and inclination to finish reading the books before having to submit a vote. But depending on what’s going on in my life, I will sometimes read 60-75 books in 3 months and other times I’ll read 5.
I think the fact that Locus did not include your works on their Recommended Reading List (and hence, the drop-down list), and that they are somewhat fussy about the format in which they want to receive write-in entries, makes what you did alright.
And btw, I voted for Buckell, Ragamuffin and Steele, Spindrift as well as a few others (yes, including TLC). I filled out all five slots for Best SF Novel, and Wilson, Axis was the only one where I could use the drop-down. I am not a Scalzibot who mindlessly does everything his prescriptivist master tells him to, nor am I a member of his secret Ninja hordes. ;-)
Like Ben said: the Internet is a great place to find outrage. And annoyance ;-)
Oh noes! Who will protect my innocent self from the implicit messages sent to me by evil Scalzi?! And the words he actually used looked so…. clear. How wrong I was to take them at face value.
Curse you, evil Scalzi, for your crafty, cunning ways with language! I shall never again look upon straightforward statements without the suspicion they so rightly deserve.
The intertubes can be very obnoxious. After reading this post I went to Locus (which I hadn’t done after your original post because I didn’t really feel like it) and voted the Scalzi ticket. But it also gave me the chance to vote for Name of the Wind as best fantasy which for some reason wasn’t in the best Fantasy recommended so it all worked out.
“How many of you believe that the implicit messaging of the entry was that you should vote for my stuff, even if you haven’t read it, or any other eligible material?”
No fair! You didn’t tell me how I was supposed to answer! How am I supposed to know what to say if you don’t tell me? Wait… maybe you’re IMPLYING that I should say there’s no implicit message. Yeah. I think that’s it. No fair making me have to think about it, since it’s easier if you just tell me outright. But, OK. I think I understand your command, my master.
Answer: I don’t believe there is an implicit message.
Did I get it right?
I think people should chillax. I think they are reading too much into what the Scalzi says. It’s almost like it’s troll season at the Whatever.
And, it is your freaking website! People with websites ask those who read the websites to vote for them all the time. Why would this be any different?
Great. Now my panties are in a bunch!
I think that 1. it is your website, to do with it as you like (not that I necessarily agree) and 2. people are stupid if they vote for it based on what you say here…
… I think that people are 3. stupid, and sycophantic (particularly here, which on things like author blogs, which is not a dig at you, but… well, whatever!) and that 4. Mary is right on the money. She normally is actually, and I say that knowing Mary in person, but not knowing you in person I would honestly, truly read it as you saying you want me to vote for you, and not wanting to get caught saying you want me to vote for you.
Why are you sorry? I’m not asking for a specific answer. Unless you think I am. And then we’re back where we started.
Cutting and pasting is too much work for me. Also, reading the eligible works within the period of eligibility. Could you provide a one-click solution for voting for all of your choices?
I voted a month ago in the Locus poll, I honestly can’t remember who I voted for, though I did write a few things in.
I thought your disclaimer covered things, but some people can’t be happy unless they’ve got something to complain about. Sigh…
Oh, and it’s rather insulting to be considered a mindless automaton in the Scalzi army (non-furry division).
I know that it feels like “Lets crap on John week” AND we know that people can NOT comprehind the written or implyed meaning of coherent sentences. Just remember that taking a crap is never completed until the “paperwork” is done and we know know WHO the ass wipe is.
May next week bring you Spring weather and smiles from the ones you love.
The problem is that you claim to mean what you actually wrote, something we all know to be false. No one does that. Most of us knew to read between the lines and just vote for all of your works because that was obviously the unstated meaning of your stating that “You shouldn’t vote for any of these just because I mention them here, of course. Actually vote for your favorite books and stories (and SF editors/publishers) from the last year. If one of mine fits that description, groovy (and thanks)”.
Don’t worry, I understood your true meaning and will only vote as you tell me to without question or cause. Independent thought is overrated, anyway. (who should be the next President, anyway? Any suggestions for my local city council race?)
P.S. If you couldn’t tell the sarcasm dripping from the above post, trust me, it’s there.
You probably don’t need me to say this –it is your website, you get the hits so, obviously, you are doing something right. In fact, you’re probably getting more hits because of this “negative” publicity. I found nothing wrong with your post. So what if someone thought it was a shameless plug for your work? If you don’t think your work is good, then why would anyone else want to read it? What did this person expect you to say? Something like, “I humbly submit my meager offerings for your consideration even though they pale in comparison with the great masters listed on this website.” I bet they wouldn’t have said that about their own work.
I can’t imagine myself voting for something I haven’t read. On the other hand, I have voted for something when I haven’t read all the other choices, and there’s something a leetle unfair about that.
I also cannot believe that I hope to become a writer, given the awful mistakes and typos in my previous comment!
I don’t think so.
I don’t think so.
A) I took your original post as “Scalzi’s Self Promotional Humor” as I have seen you do on many occasions.
B) I only voted for things I have read or listened. We are not all so mindless to follow Scalzi’s will as so directed. I think that is in fact of of the reasons he adores Whatever because of the wide range of opinions.
C) John: Perhaps other blogs are picking on you because it is a cheap way to make their blog instantly read and popular.
I think you original post was to empower the people who wanted to participate in some kind of “best of sci-fi” awards..
Am I wrong?
Well, in this particular case I suspect it was more of someone trying to pull rank on me, re: science fiction fandom, rather than trying to get their blog read. Which I also find a bit irritating.
I don’t think it’s a matter of him wanting people to vote for him. Of course he wants people to vote for him. The question is: is it unethical to list your eligible works in the explicitly expressed interest of letting your readers know that they are, indeed, eligible–especially when there is a list of “blessed” entries that appear on the ballot itself that puts his works at a huge disadvantage.
If blind sycophancy is a concern, then the statement in the original post:
You shouldn’t vote for any of these just because I mention them here, of course. Actually vote for your favorite books and stories (and SF editors/publishers) from the last year.
That “directive” would seem to ensure that the mindless readers of the blog, in obeying their Sven-scalzi, would follow orders and only vote for works that were indeed truly their favorite, not just his stuff because it’s “his”. So where’s the problem?
But then…it’s not like this blog has a history of doing anything but pimp its own stuff, so no wonder there’s suspicion of his motives. (Except for those links to the other Hugo best novel nominees…and the time’s its given the reins of the blog to his competitors to introduce themselves. Oh, and the frequent highlighting, interviews and general pimping of other authors. Cept for that, of course.)
Hold it. You write SF? Really?? hmm…
You were shilling for votes. Motivating your base to pump the ballot box at Lotus. There is no good SF nowadays.
Sir Prize: reeding comprihensjon – I has it.
The post did not bother me in the slightest. Whether you had a secret agenda or not, I cannot say with 100% certainty. (Your past behavior would put it at about 98.63% “no agenda”, though.) But then, I think that if someone who wants to goad people into voting for his works does so by writing a post as even-handed and clear as the one in question, then it doesn’t really matter what the motives are.
(Afraid I can’t agree that it’s “bag on Scalzi” week, though, as that implies that all of the notable criticism of you this week has been misguided.)
Any vote – hey, look at any given presidential campaign – is full of superficial self-promotion, most of which can be distilled to “Just vote for me, would you?” sentiment. I do not see anything improper in John actually saying “Hey, readers of my blog, there are thousands of you, and you obviously like how I write, so why don’t you vote for a random work of mine…”
The post in question clearly did not say that.
“Motivating your base to pump the ballot box at Lotus.”
Yes, I want my people to vote for my novels as best spreadsheet.
well, I *do* look at youtube videos you post without asking too many questions… so inference what you will from that… ;)
I wouldn’t vote for your work just because it’s written by you. And, if I really thought you were telling me to do so without having read it, it would produce the opposite result.
I interpreted the relevant entry as stating which pieces were eligible and in which category, should we decide we we wanted to nominate them.
I found your list helpful when filling out my Hugo nominating ballot, because I do not normally count the number of words in books/stories I’m reading, and I would have assumed The Sagan Diary was a novella not a novelette.
Well, in this particular case I suspect it was more of someone trying to pull rank on me, re: science fiction fandom…
I get the impression that in this person’s estimation anyone who wasn’t on Walt Willis’s original mailing list shouldn’t be eligible for a fannish award.
Time has passed.
Plus Scalzi, you are way too kissy kissy with boosting various of your wannabe friend’s books. Rip them instead. Their them to peices tarsel to tarsel…like the kid at the end of Sense of Honor. (read it.)
TCO, I’ll let you know when I want your advice on anything.
You’re supposed to be off the internet…not hanging off my every word. Now, if you haven’t read Sense of Honor, you are delinquent. Especially as a mil SF writer.
oh…don’t get all upset and not respond. You know you like it like that…
John, why don’t you write up a post asking your loyal minions… er, I mean your readers to mail you a twenty dollar bill in the next three days.
A week later, you can announce the massive breadth of the Scalzi empire… um, I mean the dollar total. (Call it the Soupy Sales test.) Then we’ll know how how much influence you really have.
I, for one, welcome our new Scalzi overlord
how many of you would vote for a work of mine to receive an award, without reading the work, because I (either explicitly or implicitly) suggested you should
Well I would for one, but only because you promised me twenty bucks…
I like the $20 test.
Except – well, um, didn’t that generate something like $6k for charitable support of church-state separation? :)
No. Wait. That was us being told *not* to send money because our ‘umble host didn’t want to expose his eyeballs to horseshit.
See! He really *is* using reverse Polish psychology!
[Ahem. One hand raised for “this is GOTV, not candidate promotion, and as such entirely moral, ethical, and non-fattening.”]
First off, I think you pretty clearly said just the opposite of “you should go vote for me even if you haven’t read my stuff! Fly, my precious monkeys, and bring me the little dog, too.”
Second off, even if you had said that, inasmuch as Whatever readers are not, for the most part, monkeys, I don’t think it would have worked very well.
You may be able to sucker us into supporting charities whose missions we are already inclined to believe are just and right, but that’s about as far as your powers of wicked-witch-like mind control go. No offense. I mean, you’re cool and all, but eating bananas and flinging feces all day doesn’t sound like fun times to me.
I admit to toying with the idea of voting for Jo Walton’s book even though I haven’t read it, just because I thought Farthing was genius, and am ready to believe the sequel is just as good. I didn’t. I’m not sure I could have voted for it even if I had read it– if I hadn’t read the rest of the books recommended and a bunch more in the category besides. But I’m now thinking– maybe the rest of the world is not like me. Stupid prizes. They don’t mean shit, do they?
They’re nice for the ego, and in science fiction, a Hugo is nice for marketing. Otherwise, however, it’s best to think of them as a kind token of appreciation and not read any more into them than that.
Times change. Years ago suggesting publicly that people might vote for you was frowned upon by most of fandom. “Campaigning” was certain to doom you to failure (and probably being voted below No Award). In the past I had it suggested to me that merely running Hugo Recommendation Lists on the Emerald City web site was an unacceptable level of campaigning for myself. But these days folks seem a lot more relaxed about the whole “vote for me” thing. It is just that not everyone’s attitudes have changed.
(And it is not just us. Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t the central plot of Chariots of Fire about changing attitudes that made it acceptable to (shock! horror!) actually train for a race?)
I would suggest that people write me in too, except that Emerald City is already on one of the drop-downs, even though it hasn’t published an issue since November 2006. I expect some people think that’s the result of a conspiracy on my part.
Holy noinchkins! A writer who works very, very hard to turn out thoughtful and well-written science fiction novels used his OWN PERSONAL website, which he pays for, in order to not only notify us of the Locus awards but make a slight recommendation that we maybe vote for him?
Seriously, if he said “Guys, vote for my stuff or I’ll hunt you down in your beds at night and stab you repeatedly with a meat cleaver” that would be one thing. Instead, he’s using his time and space to make a shout-out for a popular award and all of the people nominated for it, while also doing a faint plug of his own.
It’s like when people slammed on Cory Doctorow for plugging a free translation of one of his books on BoingBoing. You’re not paying these guys for their hard effort here. Until you are, you need to leaven the criticism with a little bit of understanding.
(sorry, a little bit of peeved over here. this is a release for me, as I avoided the Doctorow embroglio and never had the chance to vent my feelings on comment-ers who attack bloggers for showing any kind of self promotion at all. some of my other favourite blogger/authors (Heather Corinna and Violet Blue) have also been lately the butt of personal attacks in comments and on other websites, on matters solely to do with their own persons and self promotional agendas. seriously. the internet seems to be a place for people to be mean.)
The problem is that you claim to mean what you actually wrote, something we all know to be false. No one does that.
I mean what I actually write. Your claim to the contrary amounts to a claim to telepathy. It’s also morally disgusting, but that pales next to its simple ridiculousness.
The whole issue seems terribly silly to me, especially because it’s common knowledge that you make people well aware of which of your works are eligible for the various awards. To be calling you on it now is arriving a bit late to the punch.
I went to the Locus Awards ballot site but didn’t vote, considering that in many cases my picks would have been determined solely by what I had actually read.
And the problem with making your picks based on what you actually read is…?
(Perhaps this was humor that left me behind, me being notoriously humorless.)
All I have to say is that I’ve been posting here for quite a while and I have yet to receive my flying monkey suit or my ninja outfit and sword… *grump*
I’m another reader who used your reminder to vote for others… you’re top ten, but not the mostest, alas.
I would’ve voted you best fan writing if the Locus did that, however. You’ve clued me in to so many other cool SF authors… thanks!
I would. Yes.
Wait, was that the wrong answer?
What I mean is that the picks I made would have been my picks because they were the ONLY eligible works I had read. I manage to read around 40 books and major genre magazines a year, being a slow reader, and rarely get books from the current year due to my financial inability to buy hardcovers unless I really, really want them, plus the fact that local libraries don’t stock an impressive collection of SF. And while I’d certainly say that many of the current works I read this year were good, I’m unwilling to proclaim them the best when my range has been so desperately narrow.
PNH @ 79: . . . um.
I’m going to assume that I’m missing something very subtle (much more subtle than Bill @ 48 to be sure, including his explicit warning label at the end) and move on.
Hey, Samuel Tinianow,
You restore a little of my faith. Thanks.
I wouldn’t have known I COULD vote if you hadn’t mentioned it. I didn’t vote for you first (as my comment on the other thread says) but I did vote for you.. and only for the things I’d read.
Granted I hadn’t read many of the things on those lists, so when I’d read your stuff it was ‘my favorite’ simple by default..
So in a way I voted without KNOWING what was best, but at least I’d read the stuff of yours I voted for.
Well, of course the right to vote always includes the right to abstain, but in this case I think you’re making the wrong choice. This is a popular vote award. Are you saying that only people who read a novel or two every day (and even that wouldn’t cover the whole field) should dare state an opinion on what they think is best?
Maybe this is the reason that only a tiny fraction of the already eligible WSFS members nominate on the Hugo Awards — they somehow think that they’re not “worthy” because they don’t have encyclopedic reading of the entire field of SF/F.
For popular-vote awards, I’d encourage people to nominate and vote for those works that they read and that they liked, without worrying about the phantoms of “the rest of the field.”
You were certainly stumping for votes but I’m sure these intelligent folk employ the same b.s. filter I use when a newspaper prints a already filled in ballot.
I don’t think it’s dishonorable to vote for someone just because you like their personality or their blog, rather than with a considered evaluation of the works in question.
What if a Scientology website were to point its readers to the Locus poll and add: “Since Locus, in its wisdom, didn’t put anything written by Scientologists on its Recommended Reading List, here are these handy formatted descriptions of eligible works written by Scientologists, which you can cut from here and paste into the poll into the poll. Of course You shouldn’t vote for any of these just because they were written by Scientologists. Actually vote for your favorite books and stories.”
Is that different?
Kevin @84: Are you saying that only people who read a novel or two every day (and even that wouldn’t cover the whole field) should dare state an opinion on what they think is best?
Certainly not, but I do think they should have at least some basis for comparison–even just reading two or three eligible works would qualify them in my mind. In my case, my knowledge of most categories cosists of 0 or 1 eligible works, with the exception of Best Novel (of which I’ve read Pirate Freedom and Ragamuffin). Maybe I’ll go back and vote there, but I’d at least like to sample more than I’ve already seen of The Execution Channel and The Last Colony before I do so–so that I wouldn’t just be saying “Yes, Gene Wolfe is still my favorite writer, and yes, I finagled a free copy of Ragamuffin“.
Glad to hear it :-)
I think you may be misunderstanding how a popular vote award works. Obviously if you had been hired to be a judge for the World Fantasy Awards you would be expected to read all of the books submitted to the jury. But that’s not the case in the Locus Awards. Books are supposed to win popular vote awards because lots of people like them, not because they have been duly weighed and considered by a group of experts.
The Locus Awards are not asking you to decide which book is “best”, they are asking you which books you read and most enjoyed. The idea of “best” will only emerge as a result of aggregating the likes of the (hopefully) large number of voters. By not voting you make that aggregate result less statistically significant, and hand control of the results over to people who are willing to participate.
My five cents:
I read it as a pre-filled-out ballot.
I used to help run Usenet group creation elections for a while – we got mightily annoyed at those sorts of things.
However, after my initial slightly annoyed reaction, I realized that I had the preexisting bias of having run a system where such were explicitly not OK, and that I didn’t have any idea about the norms or rules of the Locus votes, so I tampted down my annoyance.
I haven’t run off and voted yet, though I may yet do so. I won’t vote against you for having done this here, but I need to consider who I’d vote for.
Dennis Howard @ 90:
Have something against Scientologists, do we?
If you say so, but I still think my point stands. Describing what I read and most enjoyed seems, to me, to necessitate having read more than one thing–that is, being able to put book X in the 1 slot, above book Y in the 2 slot.
If there’s only one possible thing I can enter, then the “most enjoyed” part doesn’t enter into it. Moreover, the more people do that, the more it starts to simply become a poll of who read what without necessarily accounting for quality. And the results of such a poll might be interesting, but I don’t think it would merit an award for the top ranking title.
“Dennis Howard @ 90: Have something against Scientologists, do we?”
I was referring to widely-shared suspicions that Scientologists have engaged in block-voting in the Hugos. Probably the clearest instance was when Black Genesis made it to the Best Novel ballot in 1987.