I really haven't wanted to do much of anything other than write about sf all day today, apparently. It led me to post a couple of lengthy and probably ill-considered comments on blogs.
And I wrote a journal entry about Fandom tonight, and revised another one that I wrote a couple years ago but never posted, but I'm not quite ready to post either of those, especially since one of them is kind of contentious.
So instead I'm going to talk about the number of people nominating for Hugo Awards.
There's an excellent George Flynn article titled "Hugo Voting: Let's Look at the Record (Again)," giving all sorts of statistics about numbers related to Hugo voting, covering the years 1971 through 1999. (Flynn had written an earlier article in 1988, and the original version of this one in 1995, but the latest revised version came in '99.)
Ever since I first saw it, I've been wanting to update Flynn's stats with numbers from later years, but I've never quite gotten around to doing it. Today, someone pointed to SmofInfo.com, which contains a bunch of useful material for people who want to run WorldCons, and also may be of interest to anyone interested in historical WorldCon info. There are Excel spreadsheets showing WorldCon size over time, for example, and hotel rates, and financial and business meeting reports, and so on.
And there's a link to the WSFS Hugo Voting Reports, providing full nomination details and final-ballot details for most of the past several WorldCons.
Unfortunately, those lists mostly don't contain the key number I was looking for, which was the number of nominating ballots cast. But it turned out, once I started looking for that info, that it wasn't too hard to find in most cases.
So here's some data about Hugos. I don't have enough data to fill in all the boxes in Flynn's table 1, but I do have some of it. I'm replacing some of Flynn's columns (that I don't have data for) with others of interest to me: for both nominating and final ballots, I'm including the number of electronic ballots cast, and the percentage of total ballots that were cast electronically.
[Note added in 2009: I'm updating this over time, at least when I remember.]
|Year||Location||Valid Nominating Ballots||Valid Final Ballots||No. of Categories|
|Total||Electronic||% Electronic||Total||Electronic||% Electronic|
|2005*||Glasgow||546 (PDF)||436||80%||684 (PDF)||552||81%||15|
(* = overseas WorldCon, following Flynn's convention)
 Number of categories includes Campbell, per Flynn's convention.
 All 2000 numbers may be off by 20 or 30; phrasing re invalid ballots is unclear.
 Not quite accurate; that's total electronic ballots, probably including a few invalid ones.
In 1999, Flynn noted that "since the mid-'70s the 'normal' Hugo nominating-ballot count has been fairly stable at around 500," with the exception of overseas WorldCons and a few others. The above data suggests that, after a lull in the late '90s (when the average was about 450), the number of nominating ballots suddenly went way up in 2002 and has stayed mostly relatively high--the number in 2003 was the highest number ever, though I don't know what it was as a percentage of total membership. (And, weirdly, 2003 appears to have been the lowest number of final ballots for a North American WorldCon since 1983. Was that just 'cause it was in Canada?) This year's number is a little low for an overseas WorldCon, but nonetheless higher than several years in the early '90s (as shown in Flynn's table).
(Oh, and incidentally, Nippon 2007 has posted their official press release with the nominating ballot and a bunch of related numbers.)
Does anyone have data about the total number of nominating ballots in 2004, or about the number of them submitted electronically in '03, '04, or '07? I remember discussions from a few years back when some of us were sure that nominating and voting numbers would go way up with the advent of electronic voting; sadly, that hasn't happened to the degree that we were hoping.
I'm also, obviously, missing info about numbers of final ballots for most years. I'd be grateful to anyone who has data--ideally with links to official or semi-official sources.