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Hugo Voter Packet Update

It’s coming along nicely but damn, is it huge. We have a lot of nominees participating, in a whole bunch of categories. I strongly suspect just e-mailing it won’t work this time around, so I’m looking at ways to do a password-protected download, optimally where I can generate a new password for each person. If anyone has any ideas how to do this in a way that won’t make me want to shoot out my brains, please ping me.

That said, I’ll go ahead and set a date for when I plan to make it available: Next Monday, April 6.

Please be aware this package will only be available for members of Anticipation, this year’s Worldcon. If you’re not a member yet, you can sign up at this link. There are two flavors of membership: Full (which means you plan to attend the Worldcon), which is $195, and Supporting (which means you don’t plan to attend, but want to vote for the Hugos), which is $50.

I will say that at this point, the retail value of the works in the Hugo Voter Packet is about equal to the cost of a full membership, so there’s substantial value in becoming part of this year’s Worldcon (I mean, aside from the fact that this year’s Worldcon, in itself, is going to rock). And if you sign up and vote in the Hugos, you’ll have a say in declaring the best science fiction and fantasy work of the last year.  Oh, come on. You know you want to. All the cool kids are doing it.

As I’ll be releasing the Hugo Voter Packet next Monday, this means if you’re a Hugo nominee this year and still want to get into the Packet, there’s still a bit of time. Go here for details. Let’s say the new deadline is 6pm Eastern time, April 5. If you have any questions, e-mail me.

By John Scalzi

I enjoy pie.

33 replies on “Hugo Voter Packet Update”

I became a supporting member soon after the nominees were announced, as I actually felt informed enough to vote on more than two categories. This packet is just an awesome bonus, as it should save me the trouble of tracking down some of the stories, and hopefully gives me a chance to read The Graveyard Book.

I’m going to have to quit my job to do all of this reading. It’s clearly the best option.

Hey John,

I’m thinking about your download/password problem but don’t have enough details to propose anything. If there’s a turn-key solution out there go with it but failing that you’d have to get it custom built. And custom built means clear requirements.

– Is this a one-off thing you are attempting or will you want to reuse the solution in the future?

– Do you have a way to privately contact each potential downloader to pass along their password?

– Why do the passwords have to be unique for each person?

– Does the download have to originate from your site?

Anyway, those are a few questions that came to mind.

Good luck!
Craig

The other alternative, of course, is for the WorldCon organisers to provide you with a .passwd file already containing usernames and passwords.

The usernames could be the address the member used when signing up for membership, and the password their PIN.

A .passwd file sent to you would have the PINs already encrypted, so you only need to upload it to the relevant folder on your site and make the necessary changes to the .htaccess file (to reference the .passwd file).

Cheryl:

“Only of you are personally handling the operation of the web site. I understand that you may have to, and very much appreciate all you are doing, but at the same time I think Worldcon really ought to volunteer a bit of help.”

At this point I am indeed handling it all, although of course if Anticipation wanted to assist me by hosting the package on its Web site and managing its download via password (PIN or otherwise), I certainly wouldn’t complain. I’m happy to do this, but it’s all a bit of a hassle.

Lee Harris:

Indeed, this is a good way to do it, but I think in a general sense the best way for someone who is on the ballot to handle Hugo voting PIN numbers, encrypted or not, is not to get anywhere near them in any way. Call it an overabundance of caution.

I am not yet ebook-enabled. Is there an easy way to buy all the dead-tree versions of the nominees at once? Ideally I’d like some sort of “pres butan -> all books added to amazon shopping cart” solution.

Many thanks.

Colen, I’m not sure what you mean by “ebook-enabled,” but last year the works were distributed in rich text format (.rtf), which can be read on just about any computer.

I don’t like reading anything longer than an article on a computer screen – I prefer to just read it the normal way, at least until I get a Kindle or a real ebook reader. :)

Colen:

The Anticipation web site does have links to Amazon for all of the nominated works (much to the fury, apparently, of some fans). There isn’t a single-button option. I guess that’s probably because they didn’t think anyone would want to buy them all (perhaps because most people already have one or two). You can see all the links here.

Building a site that could deliver the packet as a zip when an email/password is provided is very easy, but the questions that Craig Law poses will obviously affect the available options.

One easy method would be emailing random passwords and a download link to users and deactivating each credential as it is used. You could also provide a hashed unique download link that is (optionally) deactivated X time after it is first accessed.

I’d be happy to provide assistance with this project if required.

If it helps, I have a server with plenty of space and bandwidth available. Someone else would probably have to do the management (or you could email to people account: password, and CC: me, and tell them the account will be enabled within 24 hours; or I could give you an account so you could update the password file yourself).

John,

You might look at drop.io and dropsend.com. I know the former can password protect areas and have the files in a shared area expire after a certain time. That would allow someone to send an email to the eligible voter list saying “Go here, use this login/password and by the way the files disappear in 48 hours.”

It’s not as secure as if each person has to login with their own ID, but face it, if a voter wants to share the files they can do that after downloading vs just sharing the login info (not that I advocate either action of course).

Could you post the file online and put the link in a Google Doc, then “share” it with everyone on your list? That way, they’d have to have or create a Google account of their own (outside of your influence) to get it, which takes care of the password thing.

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