Hugos 2018 stats thoughts: near-misses and big gaps

More notes on the 2018 Hugo stats. This time I’m looking at categories where the gap between the top two items in a category was particularly big or particularly small at various points in the IRV process. (Not listing the ones where the first two swapped places; see previous post for those.)

Note: When I refer to first, second, etc “place,” I mean the order of works or people in a particular round of IRV; I’m not talking about the “race for position n” thing after the winner is determined.

  • Novel: Stone Sky started out with more than one and a half times as many first-place votes as Collapsing Empire, 770 votes to 406, and stayed well ahead through the whole Instant Runoff, ending up at 1263 to 874.
  • Novella: All Systems Red started out with more than double the votes of Down Among the Sticks and Bones, 803 to 379, and retained a 400+-vote lead through all the rounds.
  • Dramatic Presentation, Long Form: Get Out started out only four votes behind Wonder Woman. It steadily lost ground; Wonder Woman’s lead widened with each round of IR. But still, very close start.
  • Editor, Short Form: Sheila started out five votes behind Lynne and Michael, and ended up six votes behind them. Extraordinarily close. If you ever doubt that a few voters can make a difference in the outcome of the awards, then come back and look at this category. (There’ve been plenty of other examples of close outcomes in the past, of course.)
  • Semiprozine: Strange Horizons started out, and ended up, about 300 votes behind Uncanny, which is to say that Uncanny started and ended with more than twice as many votes as SH. Interestingly, this is the only category on the ballot where the top two first-round items didn’t end up as the final two items after IR; SH started out in third place, a little behind Escape Pod, and didn’t shift into second place until round 4 of IR. I don’t recall having looked at this situation in past years, so I don’t know how common it usually is for the top two to stay the same throughout the IR process; but that’s certainly common in this year’s categories.
  • Fanzine: File 770 started and ended over 400 votes ahead of SF Bluestocking. And this category went only two rounds of IR (because File 770 reached the 50% threshold after the first elimination); all the other categories this year went five or six rounds. File 770’s withdrawal from future Hugos may throw this category wide open for next year.
  • Fancast: Ditch Diggers started out only 12 votes ahead of Coode Street, but was 46 votes ahead by the end of the IR process.
  • Fan Writer: Sarah Gailey started out only 12 votes ahead of Mike Glyer, but picked up a bunch of votes in late rounds, and ended up 113 votes ahead.
  • Fan Artist: Geneva Benton started out only 9 votes ahead of Likhain, but ended up 94 votes ahead.

I find it especially interesting that Fancast, Fan Writer, and Fan Artist followed such similar patterns, with the top candidate in each of those categories starting out not much ahead of the second-place candidate but ending up significantly further ahead.

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