I promise not to become preoccupied with this website Hugo debate, and I hadn’t intended to post anything about it to SMOFs at all — it’s not really my place — but I couldn’t help responding to this exchange between David Dyer-Bennet and Leroy Berven over the issue I numbered second in the previous post: the recurring idea that one website Hugo category isn’t enough, because big guns like Scifi.com, or Locus Online, which for whatever reason are perceived as having unfair advantage over more ‘fannish’ websites, would dominate the category.
>Quoth David Dyer-Bennet:
>> By the way, how do you propose to distinguish “fan” from “pro” sites?
>> How would you categorize the following: www.tor.com, www.baen.com,
>> dragaera.info, www.neilgaiman.com, www.dendarii.com, isfdb.tamu.edu,
>> (Off the top of my head, I’d categorize them as pro, pro, fan, pro,
>> fan, fan, semi-pro.
>So would I.
>> Locusmag would go to full pro if there had to be
>> only two categories. But I don’t know what the rule is that sorts
>> them that way.)
>Given my druthers, my own preference would be that we not _have_ a need
>to develop one. OTOH, distinguishing “fan” from “pro” seems to be a
>process best conducted in the spirit of the U.S. Supreme Court
>justice’s well-known definition of obscenity.
I responded that it would require curious, counter-intuitive definitions of “semi-professional” and “professional” to nominate Locus Magazine as a “semi-pro” magazine –though it provides full-time employment for a publisher, an editor, and several full-time staff– while designating Locus Online a “professional website” –though the income it brings in barely covers site expenses, and certainly doesn’t provide full-time employment for anyone.
Though I do understand the desire for some distinction. Sponsorship, or affiliation, perhaps? SciFi Channel supports SciFi.com, and Locus Magazine supports Locus Online by virtues of name, information, and contacts, even if not any significant money. Best Affiliated Website and Best Independent Website, perhaps, analogous to Adapted and Original Screenplays?
As I’ve typed this post, David Dyer-Bennet has responded to the listserve with a detailed response that finds my suggestion unpersuasive. Oh well. Just a thought. I should stay out of this.