Corrected Hugo Ballot
Frequently Asked Questions
Nippon 2007 has announced an error on the initially released version of the final ballot for the 2007 Hugo Awards resulting in the film Pan's Labyrinth being mistakenly omitted from the final ballot and another film being mistakenly included. Nippon 2007 is distributing corrected ballots and has announced steps to try to ensure that the error has no effect on the awards. As part of that effort, Nippon 2007 has prepared the following FAQ, which it will maintain on the Nippon 2007 website. This FAQ may be updated as additional questions arise or to clarify points.
Question: What are you doing to make sure that the corrected ballots are used for voting?
Answer: We have already corrected the online Hugo ballot on the Nippon 2007 website. We have also made the accurate ballot available on the website for downloading and printing. We will be mailing the accurate ballot with Progress Report 5. We are also sending postcards to everyone to whom we sent the inaccurate ballot advising them of the error. We have issued a press release about the error and are also distributing and maintaining the FAQ describing the error and the steps we are taking to address it.
Question: What will you do if people vote using the inaccurate ballot?
Answer: We will make every effort to contact anyone who has already voted or who subsequently votes using the inaccurate ballot, and we will give these people an opportunity to revise their votes in this category. People who have already voted and who learn of this error before we can contact them may contact the Hugo Administrator at firstname.lastname@example.org to revise their votes in this category. Voters may also vote online using their PIN and membership number (which was included on mailing label of the recent mailing of the Hugo and Site Selection Ballots and which will also be included with Progress Report 5). Online ballots submitted after the error was corrected will take precedence over any written ballot if both are received.
Question: What should people do if they have already voted using the inaccurate ballot (or if they're not sure)?
Answer: They'll be hearing from us (if we don't hear from them first). We will contact anyone who has already voted using the inaccurate ballot, and we will give them a chance to revise their votes in the Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form category. In the meantime, these voters may contact the Hugo Administrator at email@example.com to revise their votes in this category or, if they are not sure whether they used the corrected ballot, to check. They may also vote online using the PIN and membership as described above.
Question: How did this mistake happen?
Answer: The data set of the nominating votes was corrupted in a way that was not immediately obvious. The final ballot appeared to jibe with the data, and the error was only discovered when additional checks were made after the distribution of the final ballot.
Question: Why weren't these additional checks done before the final ballot was released?
Answer: We wish they had been. The fact of the matter is that we had done numerous checks and had a reasonable basis for believing that the ballot, as released, was entirely accurate. The additional checks were only done as a result of a spirited discussion on a fannish listserve (the SMOF listserve) about the failure of Pan's Labyrinth to make the final ballot. The Hugo Administrator requested a fresh data set as a precaution and, upon discovering the error, immediately conducted a complete and comprehensive audit of the nominating ballots for every Hugo category. No additional errors were identified.
Question: Given this mistake, how do you know that there are not other mistakes?
Answer: It is true that we made this mistake, and we understand that people may therefore be skeptical of the accuracy of this revised ballot. All that we can do is assure everyone that we have reexamined every step of the calculation, starting with the original nomination voting and utilizing a fresh data set. We are convinced that the error in the Best Dramatic Presentation category was the only error on the final ballot and we are convinced that this ballot accurately lists the nominees as determined by those submitting valid nominating ballots.
Question: In light of this mistake, wouldn't it have been fairer to leave Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest on the corrected ballot?
Answer: When the error was discovered, we considered various ways to address the error, including this option. Ultimately, the Hugo Administrator, in consultation with senior members of the Nippon 2007 committee, decided that adding Pan's Labyrinth and removing Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest was the best way to comply with Hugo voting rules and respect the will of the voters. Your mileage may vary.
Question: Is this an April Fools Day joke?
Answer: No it isn't. Really. No kidding. In fact, we were worried enough about this reaction that we considered delaying the announcement for an additional day just to avoid this perception. In the end, we decided that the highest priority was to get the news out as quickly as possible, and so we released the news when it was still April 1 (as least in many of the timezones in which Nippon 2007 members live).