Author Topic: AGM 2015 and awards proposals  (Read 8630 times)

Offline Rolnikov

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Re: AGM 2015 and awards proposals
« Reply #15 on: September 20, 2015, 06:39:36 PM »
You're not trespassing at all! (Though obviously it would be great to hear from more members too, since they'd be the ones actually voting on any proposal.) The great thing about discussing these things on the forum is that you can put an idea out there, and it's still there for people to think about years later, even if no one goes mad for it now.

Offline Peter Coleborn

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Re: AGM 2015 and awards proposals
« Reply #16 on: September 21, 2015, 11:31:36 AM »
Not a proposal -- just musing...

The major issue in the awards has always been the low numbers of votes / nominations (although it seems much better now).  Compare this with the participatory levels in the Gemmells. Perhaps, the BFS awards could be opened up to the general public in a similar way. If you get thousands of votes suggestions of cliques, etc, become less likely. The awards would of course be sponsored / awarded / paid for by the BFS.

Blue skies thinking...

Offline joshua rainbird

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Re: AGM 2015 and awards proposals
« Reply #17 on: September 21, 2015, 05:29:19 PM »
As a former member I have felt that in recent years that the problem has not been the low vote count but whether the whole society welcomes the award decisions. Throwing the vote to the general public to chip in may raise profiles of nominees and the society yet also dilute the control over the outcome.

Scenario (albeit a rather simplistic dichotomy):

a popular piece full of cliches and tropes and deemed poorly written by most in the society is the first choice of the wider general public because:
  • they've read it
  • they found it fun
  • or they've read some of the writer's other works and feel the writer is due a gong although they haven't read this particular work

whereas most of the society may prefer an innovative piece that pushes the envelope of the genre and has denser writing.

Would the society's members, who have funded the award, feel happy if the popular work won and be happy for it to bear the society's crest etc.?

Alternatively, you could narrow the selection to weed out the popular piece before it comes to the vote, but that triggers the question, "why can't we choose it rather than this impenetrable stuff?"

What I'm getting at is that it boils down to the society's identity as pulp has different merits to literary works (you can probably guess that I like a wide range of stuff depending on my mood.)  :-X


So if you're about to throw the voting to a wider audience there may need to be some clear criteria for what the society regards as worthy.
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Offline Rolnikov

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Re: AGM 2015 and awards proposals
« Reply #18 on: September 21, 2015, 07:41:05 PM »
Yes, awards based on a popular vote don't tend to be that well-respected, although they can be fun and get a lot of people involved. I'd be all in favour of us having a public award for something, Writer of the Year or something like that, if we didn't have so many awards already.

Offline Dave Brzeski

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Re: AGM 2015 and awards proposals
« Reply #19 on: September 22, 2015, 01:05:26 PM »
Approaching publishers for reading copies is one of the most sensitive parts of the job, that would be the last thing to pass to an assistant.

None of the nominees arrived at the very last minute this year - the last came in with over three weeks to go, because the publishers had been away on holiday. There were two or three things that hadn't arrived with three weeks still to go, and we bought them out of expenses. If anything really had arrived at the last minute (i.e. a week to go), there is a fortnight of emergency padding built into the schedule.

I can't not find that first comment vaguely insulting.

Your definition of last minute appears to assume that we all have nothing else to do, or can afford to drop everything else in favour of reading these books. I'm in the middle of the second of two editing jobs since I signed on for the best collection Jury. I have 5 collections to read & I want to be able to read all of all of them in time for the vote. In this case, the latecomer did arrive in time to not be a huge problem, but not by all that much.

Offline joshua rainbird

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Re: AGM 2015 and awards proposals
« Reply #20 on: September 22, 2015, 01:29:00 PM »
Yes, awards based on a popular vote don't tend to be that well-respected, although they can be fun and get a lot of people involved. I'd be all in favour of us having a public award for something, Writer of the Year or something like that, if we didn't have so many awards already.

the concern I have is that if I contributed money to an award and then found the society unhappy with the chosen winner I would feel that my financial contribution had been wasted - worse still if the award had generated some unpleasantness - is there scope to consider some independent sponsorship for the awards (only) and to use the subs that would have been spent there on stuff for the membership  :-\
If wishes were horses then we'd all be eating steak.
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But ... if fishes were courses then we'd all be eating hake ...

Offline Rolnikov

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Re: AGM 2015 and awards proposals
« Reply #21 on: September 22, 2015, 11:25:17 PM »
And there are so many constituencies to consider. A result which leaves the BFS membership perfectly happy can go down badly in the convention hall, a result met with cheers in the hall can elicit groans on Twitter.

Our publicity officer has been exploring the sponsorship angle. It'll probably be a slow burner, but all the positive attention the nomination announcements got on Twitter this year won't have hurt.

Offline joshua rainbird

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Re: AGM 2015 and awards proposals
« Reply #22 on: September 23, 2015, 11:48:35 AM »
thanks Stephen - I wouldn't want your responsibilities for all the tea in China

If wishes were horses then we'd all be eating steak.
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Offline Rolnikov

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Re: AGM 2015 and awards proposals
« Reply #23 on: October 15, 2015, 04:47:10 PM »
Sadly, I won't be able to come to the AGM this year - there just don't seem to be any trains from Birmingham to Nottingham on a Sunday morning - but I'll supply Phil with a short paragraph on each of the various bits and bobs I've been doing, including the awards. There will be two awards proposals, which I'll post here in full once they are in their final forms:

1. From me, the one we've been talking about here, which no one seems to be terribly keen on, about switching back to voting on the shortlist, but keeping an egregious omissions committee. If it doesn't pass, no worries, I'll keep running the awards for at least another year. But no promises after that! And of course if anyone loves the current system and would be able to keep it going, I'd be happy to step aside in their favour.

2. And one from Gary Couzens, about making some television programmes eligible as a whole rather than as individual episodes.

Any awards proposals that are made ad hoc at the AGM need to be supplied in writing too, before being voted on. It should be to me, but since I'm not there, I'm happy for them to be given to the chair instead. I won't know the ins and outs of any debate, so what I'll add to the awards constitution will be what is written down and given to the chair.

Offline Rolnikov

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Re: AGM 2015 and awards proposals
« Reply #24 on: October 16, 2015, 11:38:43 AM »
Okay, here's my proposal, as I currently intend to put it to the AGM. I'm not honestly expecting it to pass, but I hope it does. Remember, if you love it or hate it, attend the AGM to vote, or if you can't do that, you have till 10.00 am on Sunday to contact the BFS secretary and appoint a proxy to vote on your behalf.

Quote
AWARDS PROPOSAL BY STEPHEN THEAKER

Summary:

To replace the current jury system with a system of members voting on the shortlists, while establishing an egregious omissions committee and a statutory two-month reading period.

Proposal:

Changing: "The British Fantasy Society resolves that the BFS Awards shall ultimately be decided by a jury deliberating on a shortlist determined by the members of the Society. The Jury shall comprise individuals directly or indirectly related to the writing, publishing and bookselling genre fields. The Jury shall include at least one non-member of the Society. The Jury shall be appointed by the Awards Administrator, subject to approval by the BFS committee. The Jury shall deliberate on a shortlist of four nominations as determined by the membership by online or postal vote. The Jury shall also have oversight powers to add nominations where it identifies an egregious omission. In order to add such nominations the jury must make a unanimous decision. The addition of a nomination will be made in camera."

To: "The British Fantasy Awards are ultimately decided by the votes of the members of the British Fantasy Society and the attendees of the previous and upcoming FantasyCons ("the membership"). A shortlist of four nominations will be determined by the membership by online or postal vote. An egregious omissions committee shall have oversight powers to add nominations where it identifies an egregious omission. In order to add such nominations the egregious omissions committee must make a unanimous decision. The addition of a nomination will be made in camera. The egregious omissions committee shall include at least one non-member of the Society. The egregious omissions shall be appointed by the Awards Administrator, subject to approval by the BFS committee. The membership will vote on the shortlists, voting to begin no sooner than two months after the announcement of the shortlist."

And consequential changes to the voting procedure section.

Reasons:

(i) The current system requires an amount of work that is likely to prove unsustainable (e.g. well over 600 emails this year).

(ii) The pool of potential jurors is limited, and we are going through them quickly.

(iii) BFS and FantasyCon members would decide the awards once again.

(iv) The egregious omissions committee will continue the good work done by juries in adding to the diversity and credibility of the shortlists.

(v) The two month gap between the announcement of the shortlist and the commencement of voting will encourage members to read (and buy) the nominated works.

(vi) Attendees of the upcoming FantasyCon would have more involvement than they do at present; voting on the first round is over before many have signed up.
« Last Edit: October 16, 2015, 11:41:41 AM by Stephen Theaker »

Offline Rolnikov

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Re: AGM 2015 and awards proposals
« Reply #25 on: October 19, 2015, 06:09:53 PM »
Here is the awards proposal that Gary Couzens will put to this year’s AGM:

Quote
AWARDS PROPOSAL FROM GARY COUZENS

Proposal: That the category of Best Film/Television Episode be renamed Best Film/Television, with television seasons, miniseries or serials be able to be considered as a whole, if all written by one writer or the same team of writers, rather than singling out individual episodes as at present. For multipart works eligible under this, the eligibility is for the calendar year of the broadcast or other distribution of the final episode.

Eligibility: a TV broadcast, film or electronic broadcast released in the English language in the United Kingdom during the relevant year. "Release" constitutes the work's commercial availability, be it cinema release, release on DVD, Bluray or via video on demand or other online streaming, or broadcast in the case of television productions. It would not apply to festival, preview or trade screenings if these precede the commercial release date. Awarded to the writer.

Reasons:

Briefly, this would allow, for example, Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell and Midwinter of the Spirit (two miniseries which I think will be likely to pick up votes next year) to be considered as the equivalent of feature films rather than singling out single episodes as at present, which would I think be to their detriment. That would therefore be the equivalent of a seven-hour film in the former's case… though seven-hour films do occasionally get commercial releases. (Though the examples I can think of aren't genre – Shoah, for example.)

I would consider Doctor Who as a series of individual stories (some of them two-parters) though there is an overall story arc behind them. Under this proposal, the two-part stories would be considered as single items as single-episode stories would.

Offline Rolnikov

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Re: AGM 2015 and awards proposals
« Reply #26 on: October 25, 2015, 04:43:31 PM »
Sadly my proposal did not pass at the AGM, and apparently wasn't even put to a vote; it's been held over "for further discussion". That's all the info I have for now - for more information about the AGM I think we'll have to wait for everyone to be back at their desks.

Offline Peter Coleborn

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Re: AGM 2015 and awards proposals
« Reply #27 on: October 25, 2015, 07:58:49 PM »
I think it wasn't on because they really needed you to be there to address some of the issues raised in discussion.

Offline Rolnikov

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Re: AGM 2015 and awards proposals
« Reply #28 on: October 25, 2015, 08:24:10 PM »
That's frustrating to hear given that we had invited comments on the proposal via the monthly bulletin, BFS Horizons, Twitter, Facebook, the BFS website and here on the forum... It's not like this was a last minute thing.

Apparently the stumbling block was something no one had raised with me, about the sad puppies. (We should be so lucky, to have four hundred new paying members..!)

But never mind. The current system produces respectable results, so I can see why people didn't want to change it. It just might be difficult for the society to find someone with the time and ability to keep it going.

Offline jared

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Re: AGM 2015 and awards proposals
« Reply #29 on: October 26, 2015, 04:08:39 PM »
That's pretty hilarious.

Notably, the BSFA awards (which are voted on, both rounds) went un-puppied.

I don't think they care very much about British awards.