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Tue, Aug. 8th, 2006, 06:27 pm
kevin_standlee: Best Professional Artist Hugo Award - Revised Proposal

Donato Giancola and Irene Gallo have revised their Artist Hugo Nominations Amendment slightly, to narrow the scope to only affect Best Professional Artist and to clarify that the standard of publication is intended to be the same as for the written fiction categories. Here's the revised proposal:

Short Title: Artist Hugo

Moved, To amend the WSFS Constitution to require that nominations for the Best Professional Artist Hugo Award include one citation of a specific work created by the nominee during the year of eligibility, by adding additional wording as follows:

Add to Section 3.7: Nominations

3.7.4: Nominations for the category of Best Professional Artist must include, in addition to the nominated artist's name, the title of a specific work by the nominated artist or the name of the publication within which the nominated artist's work appeared, either of which must have been first published in the year for which the artist is being nominated.

Add to Section 3.8: Tallying of Nominations

3.8.8: Nominations for the category of Best Professional Artist shall be tallied only by the artist’s name and not by the title of any specific cited work or publication within which the nominated artist's work appeared. Nominations for these categories that do not include the information required in section 3.7.4 shall not be counted.

Submitted by: Donato Giancola, Irene Gallo

Makers' Argument:

While no single work is voted upon for the final Artist Hugo balloting, the inclusion of naming works from an eligible year in the nomination process will insure that only eligible works are those which the nominator is considering the artist for, rather than relying upon name and reputation recognition. This will help clarify and enforce the rules as per the World Science Fiction Society Constitution, specifically Section 3.2: General, and 3.2.1: "Unless otherwise specified, Hugo Awards are given for work in the field of science fiction or fantasy appearing for the first time during the previous calendar year."

In the past, sheer name recognition has propelled nominations forward without any verifiable check that those artists had contributed any new work to the field of Science Fiction in the eligible, and required, years. I believe these amendments will bring an end to the ‘blind’ nomination process and restore credibility to the Award.

Wed, Aug. 9th, 2006 08:14 am (UTC)
cherylmorgan

I think this still needs a bit of work. As I read 3.7.4, a reference is acceptable if it appears in a work first published in the year of eligibility. So, for example, a work is created in 2004, which makes it eligible as a reference. It appears as the cover of a book first published in 2005, which makes it eligible again. It appears in an art book in 2006, eligible again. As the cover of the program of a convention where the artist is a GoH in 2007. And because I really like the artist I publish the work again in my fanzine in 2008, and in 2009, and...

This wasn't what you (Irene and Donato) meant, was it?

Wed, Aug. 9th, 2006 08:25 am (UTC)
kevin_standlee

The intent is to make the standard of publication the same as it is for written fiction. An author who reads a not-yet-published story at a convention in November does not make that work eligible in that year; if the work is published in the following February's Analog, then the work eligible once and only once for publication in the year of that publication. This would be the same as an artist displaying a piece of artwork in November, and would not be "professionally published" -- remember that the standard for the category as a whole is "An illustrator whose work has appeared in a professional publication in the field of science fiction or fantasy during the previous calendar year."

In my opinion, it's almost impossible to draft wording that cannot be misconstrued in some way. Tom Galloway suggested:
3.7.4: Nominations for the category of Best Professional Artist must include, in addition to the nominated artist's name, the title of a specific work by the nominated artist or the name of a publication in which a work by the nominated artist first appeared, either of which must have been first published in the year for which the artist is being nominated.
I've suggested that this much fine-tuning may need to be a floor amendment upon consideration.

No matter what wording we have, we have, I think, reached the point where if anything passes, the Administrator is going to have to know the legislative history and intent in order to apply it, because we're not going to go writing a bunch of examples into the constitution, and I'm afraid many of the questions can only be answered in the form of Q & A examples.

Wed, Aug. 9th, 2006 09:27 am (UTC)
cherylmorgan

Point taken about the "professional publication" thing. It does (in this particular case) prevent the nominator from justifying a nomination simply by publishing the work himself. But - correct me if I'm wrong - isn't the precise definition of "professional publication" from the Best Professional Editor category going away if the change to that category is passed? That would then lead to Administators having to make a value judgement as to whether a publication used to support a Best Professional Artist nomination was "professional" or not, and probably having to resort to a "vox populi, vox dei" argument.

Besides, the "professional publication" argument does not apply if, as has been widely suggested, this requirement gets extended to other "body of work" awards such as, for example, fan artist. In that case it would be possible to justify a nomination simply by publishing the work yourself on your web site.

I have every sympathy with the difficulty of drafting suitable wording, but what that suggests to me is that this is an issue that should not be a matter of legislation. I'm very uncomfortable with a situation where Administrators are being asked to make decisions about disqualifying nominations on the basis of ideas that cannot be clearly expressed in legislative language and instead rely on things like interpretation of legislative intent which can be more easily argued over.

Wed, Aug. 9th, 2006 02:00 pm (UTC)
kevin_standlee

...isn't the precise definition of "professional publication" from the Best Professional Editor category going away if the change to that category is passed?
Yes.
That would then lead to Administrators having to make a value judgment as to whether a publication used to support a Best Professional Artist nomination was "professional" or not, and probably having to resort to a "vox populi, vox dei" argument.
Yes, that's what I think. In my opinion, it has become nearly impossible to objectively define "professional" by things like print run or even amount paid, given that we've seen groups set up to pay each other the necessary fees just to generate SFWA eligibility and the like.
Besides, the "professional publication" argument does not apply if, as has been widely suggested, this requirement gets extended to other "body of work" awards such as, for example, fan artist.
It now appears less likely to me that there is significant sentiment (defined as having enough votes have a chance of passing) for such a focus-broadening change. Note that the latest revision of the language is to narrow the focus to just Professional Artwork. An amendment to require all of the "person" categories to provide citations might well require special language for each of the categories.

Wed, Aug. 9th, 2006 04:08 pm (UTC)
tkunsman

I wonder if it would be in order (speaking of at the WSFS business meeting) to either appoint a select committee or submit the wording issue to the Nitpicking and Flyspecking committee to meet and report back to the Friday business meeting with some better wording.

I kind of like the current wording of the amendment, but can see some possible problems.

As Kevin has stated, passing the history of this legislation and maybe the minutes of this (let to happen) WSFS meeting to future Hugo administrators may help in tallying of votes.

Just some ideas.

Wed, Aug. 9th, 2006 06:07 pm (UTC)
kevin_standlee

It has already been poured over by committees, the WSFS head table, and other people. There is, in my opinion, no single wording that will suit everyone. Anyone wanting to read ambiguity into any set of wording will find a way to do so. Remember, three of the four members of the NPFSC are on the head table and have already passed the current language. All a select committee would do is argue over further hair-splitting and come up with something else that maybe they like but that I'm sure someone else could find a way to misconstrue.

I've often said that existing language in the WSFS constitution could never withstand the level of scrutiny that most new proposals get. You almost never can write something that's impossible to misinterpret. You have to do the best you can, and then include commentary and examples to act as guidance. It helps that we have resources like the Annotated WSFS Constitution to help keep this sort of commentary together and point to at need. We also have to assume that Hugo Administrators will not work in a vacuum and will pay attention to precedent and legislative guidance.

Wed, Aug. 9th, 2006 05:14 pm (UTC)
sfrose

I've posted my amendment by substitution.