Awards - Deciding what qualifies
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You know, I've asked this on different ocassions, but I wanted to come with a little information this time.
About half way down the blog post, Writer's Beware lists five different awards which are in essence money-making scams. I don't think these should exist an legitimate awards on LT. (Personal opinion, of course.)
However, since the CK is a public domain area, I wanted to talk to people as to what do we include in the awards field?
Some are obvious: Hugo, Nebula, Pulitzer, Caldecott, Newberry
Some are nebulous: NYT bestseller, Amazon bestseller
Others - Scams or non-awards that people place in the field to make them look like a better book.
So, let's talk. What do we allow in the awards field, and what should we ask as their format?
ETA: Found this on Help/Wikithing:
Awards and Honors
List each award on a separate line.
Use the same labels as previous entries (when appropriate). If entering the first instance of an award, use a relatively short label to limit the truncation of parenthetical information during browsing.
List all awards that are not associated with a specific work on the corresponding author page.
Example: Nobel Prizes should be listed on author pages.
List book awards on the work page (not the author page). Awards listed for works will eventually appear automatically on the corresponding author page (see Chris's comments here and here).
Example: Pulitzer Prizes, Booker Prizes and Hugo Awards should be listed only on work pages.
Exceptions: an award for a writing that does not itself constitute a separately-published book (for instance, an individual short story, poem or essay) should be listed on the author page (rather than on the page for each "work" that includes it).
For awards given in multiple categories, include both the category and year in parentheses. Omit the word "Best" from the category description.
Examples: Pulitzer Prize (Fiction, 1976) and Nebula (Novella, 2006)
For awards given in a single category, include only the year in parentheses
Examples: Booker Prize (1999) and Yale Younger Poets Prize (2004)
For books that were shortlisted or longlisted for an award, or books/authors that were award finalists or nominees, specify the status outside of the parentheses (so that they browse separately from the winners)
Examples: Booker Prize Shortlist (1999) and Hugo Nominee (Novel, 2001)
Nobel Prizes should be entered with the specific prize outside the parentheses, e.g. Nobel Prize in Literature (1945) (discussion thread here)
(Lost the formatting. Rats.)
Not having given this much thought yet, I do have a gut reaction to one part of your question. I don't think bestseller lists should be included. I've never heard anyone make the case that a bestseller list is an award.
In my view, "bestseller" is not an award. To me, an award is something that is bestowed by an organization or committee that has considered and compared qualifying works.
Scam "awards" should disappear.
Since we now have the Lists feature, could we move some of the "Best Seller" lists (like the NYT) over to the lists and remove them from awards then?
I want to start killing some of these 5-star awards too... *sigh*
#5 by gilroy> Unfortunately, the Lists as they exist today (and until Tim gets around to improving them in "two weeks") are a weird fit for this. The NYT Bestseller list is a fixed thing, not some kind of emergent list that is built up by a bunch of LT users adding items to their personal copy of the list. Does that make sense?
#6 Yeah, it does, but it allows for mixed opinions, too.
Because it's fixed, it makes it easy to add the latest to the list. No voting required. No numbering required (unless we had some way to list the year.)
Plus, it gets a nebulous honor from the award field.
#7 by gilroy> but it allows for mixed opinions, too.
I'm just trying to understand why that's a good thing.
You say no voting required, but lists ARE voting. Every entry gets a score based on how many people have it on their list (and in what position, if you have ranking turned on).
So, in theory, you might create a list for the 2010 NYT Bestseller List and add all the ones from the official published NYT list. But then someone comes along and adds a couple of items that aren't actually on the NYT list. Let's say an author adds their own title (and we've seen enough from authors on LT to know this is likely to happen). Now you have to go through and Thumbs down them. And they still show up, just at the end now. That's voting, btw.
And now that you turned on thumbs down, what if other people Thumbs down legit books that are actually on the list? You can't really fix that. And now we have a gunky global list, so you tell them "no, no, just look at MY copy of the list, as I keep it tidy". So now you've moved away from consensus editing like CK gives you to a bit of a hairball.
I understand why you want lists like these out of awards. They don't belong there and are fitting a square peg into a round hole. But I really think putting them in the LT Lists feature is just finding another round hole to jam the peg into.
I think the only good place is going to be if there's a flavor added to the lists where it's one global list that's curated like CK data is.
The NYT Bestseller list is a fixed thing
I just took a look at last Sunday's NYT Book section. There are fifteen separate bestseller lists!
But it's beside the point, anyway. When I say "a fixed thing", I mean it's an authoritative "fact". The NYT controls that list.
It's like the difference between these two lists:
Best Science Fiction and Fantasy Novels
NPR's Top 100 Science-Fiction and Fantasy Books (2011)
I'm not a big fan of bestseller lists in the Awards section, but various people have put a *lot* of work into building up those lists (eg nytimes list), and I wouldn't want to see that work undone unless there was some real site-wide consensus (or staff directive) about moving or deleting them. I think another category than awards would be better, and that the lists feature could be designed better to handle these. But, really, these bestseller lists aren't doing anyone any harm.
I've put in things like the 1001 books you must read before you die, because there isn't another category that works better for generating a complete list of these. And one could argue that list sort of indicates an honor. The feature isn't perfect, but not everything has to be perfect.
Obvious spam awards or one-member projects that don't correspond to a real, official, or 3rd party verifiable list/award of some kind -- ok, we can probably agree to get rid of those. But I'm very hesitant to undo and delete other people's work where it's been entered in good faith.
Six completely separate lists, as follows:
1. Combined Print and E-Book Best Sellers
2. Print | Hardcover Best Sellers (categories: Fiction, Non-Fiction)
3. E-Book Best Sellers (categories: Fiction, Non-Fiction)
4. Print | Paperback Best Sellers (categories: Trade Fiction, Mass-Market Fiction, Non-Fiction)
5. Print | Advice, How-To and Miscellaneous (categories: Hardcover, Paperback)
6. Print | Children's Best Sellers (categories: Picture Books, Chapter Books, Paperback Books, Series)
And, no, I don't think some of these breakdowns make any sense, either.
Okay, I lied. Go to http://www.nytimes.com/best-sellers-books/overview.html and you will find even more lists!
Right, I do get that. Of course, they vary from week to week (which is irrelevant for award purposes, but not for list purposes).
And at the end of the year, you have a list for that year. And I suspect that's the one people put in the CK.
I'm not so sure. I think that any book that has ever been on any of the lists, at any time, blazons "NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER" on the cover, and people put it in the CK. The book may have been on the list for one week, at the number 20 spot, but, by gum, that author and that publisher are not going to let people forget that this is a "NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER!!"
#17 by lilithcat> That's still what I'm talking about. At the end of the year, you would have a list of novels that have been bestsellers for that year. That's what all of these would be, no matter how many weeks they managed to stay on. I think that's the only thing people care about, and not the weekly lists.
Ah, gotcha. I thought you were assuming a separate year-end list of top bestsellers for the year. So we've been talking at cross-purposes!
I'm on record as not liking the bestseller lists.
For me, the award has to be an award. It has to be notable. Also once a book appears on the list it is always on that list.
So I would have ALA 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books of 1990-1999 as an award. It could be a list though - if a bit more work was put into lists.
I wouldn't include The ISFDB Top 100 Books - again not a real award. It is an algorithmic composite of other awards.
I would probably throw out "thisrecording.com 100 Greatest Science Fiction or Fantasy Novels of All Time" as well. It just seems to be editorial content.
Similarly "David Pringle's Modern Fantasy: The 100 Best Novels" would go - a fine list but not an award IMO.
The Torchlight List would go too. So would Spring 2009 Indie Next List pick for Teens
As rsterling has said people have put a lot of work into this so they probably shouldn't be deleted without hesitation. Most of this data is worthwhile and should be somewhere. That somewhere should be a better lists feature.
Unfortunately, you eliminate David Pringle, you'll also eliminate 1001 books to read before you die, as they are both published lists in physical volumes. (I've interestingly touched them both recently in Books-a-Million.)
I can agree otherwise.
I agree. But they aren't really awards are they? That is why we need the lists feature beefing up - especially in terms of appearing on work pages - so that people can still access and see which books are on what lists.
Okay, so based on the discussion, let's see if we can draw a user consensus to draw Tim to argue against :>
- Third party presented, like the Hugo, Nebula, Pulitzer, Caldecott, Newberry (for books) and Nobel (For Author). To give an example.
- Nominees and Shortlists are okay, as separate awards to the actual award (example: Nebula nominee)
Grudgingly accepting until lists are improved:
- Bestseller lists (Should this be limited to year only? I know some people list month and year for NYT.)
- Lists of recommended reading books (like the 1001 books to read before you die.)
Not valid awards: (Since I'm still fuzzy on this block, help!)
- ? Known scams? - Do we need to create a list of known, found scams?
Corrections, improvements, comments?
Go for it. I would indeed be interested to know how Tim views this.
(Personally I've long given up on the Awards info - because, as I see it, much of it isn't interesting because of clutter. I don't understand how "bestseller lists" of whatever newspaper can be construed as awards. Isn't that just some observation of fact: this-or-that books sells well. Okay?!, huzzah for the publisher.)
You can see some of Tim's views on the thread I linked above. He seems to accept a broad definition of Awards and Honors.
For me, the most interesting idea on that thread was the request to add an option to collapse series with a divot (little triangle thingy) on the series statistics page.
The old link devolved into a lists discussion. Plus it's three years old. Things change.
I have tried to keep these 2 awards up to date (including the shortlist). Where in light of all above do they fit in? Remember we can also have a bit of humour.
Bookseller/Diagram Prize for Oddest Title of the Year
Literary Review's Bad Sex in Fiction Award
Real anti-awards like these should be allowed I think. Some organizing body, possibly even with a jury (or a public voting system) decides what's really really awful, or silly, or whatever.
It's just happens not to be the excellence that's being awarded. No problem as I see it. Here in Holland we get to choose the most awful commercial of the year, in several categories. Yes, we need a laugh too - pleazze.
I think the notability aspect is also important even for real awards.
Obviously the real awards you list are OK.
An award by a national or large regional or specialist newspaper/magazine is fine.
How about if small local papers give awards?
Same for libraries and library associations. National awards fine, large awards fine, but "Tiny Village No-one's Heard Of School Library Best Book 2010"?
Finally and I think this is a rehash
"Academy Award for Writing Adapted Screenplay Nominee" and similar. In my view this is fine when attached to the screenplay. But not when attached to the book that was adapted. The award wasn't for the original material.
To me, they qualify as Third Party Presented Awards, so I think they're fine.
True - locals schools / libraries / rags... And personally, as a European, I'm tempted to see the NY Times as just another local rag - who cares what sells in New York? Well, publishers probably, I get that it's a pretty big place - lots of money to be made.
Sure, as far as I'm concerned we could all decide starting "awarding" whatever. No problem! But we can do without such CK info. Bet you guys aren't waiting for the annual BarkingMatt shortlist.
Anyway, either way, selling lots of copies wherever, isn't an award. It's just an economic fact. Bestseller lists, in my perhaps not so humble opinion, should be banned.
#32 by BarkingMatt> who cares what sells in New York
The NYT lists are not just what's selling in NY. It's based on sales reports from the entire US. And apparently, it's based on retail sales and not wholesale, so it gives a good picture of what people are actually buying. Not that it's perfect. Apparently it skews to fast selling books over slow selling ones. But it doesn't just matter to publishers - it matters to book buyers. Looks like they use it as a key piece of info when deciding what books to buy.
And this is apart from point that if NYT is a "local rag", then every newspaper (and by extension other media) is a "local rag", and you strip "local rag" of any actual meaning because there's nothing that's the opposite of it. ;)
Anyway, either way, selling lots of copies wherever, isn't an award. It's just an economic fact.
I think you're preaching to the choir, here. I think pretty much everyone agrees that it's not an award. I think the problem is that it IS a pretty juicy factoid and there's been no other place for it to go so it's been stuck in the awards section. I think even the people strongly in favor of keeping the data in LT would love it if there was a separate section for this kind of data.
This is actually the question I'm trying to get answered. We need a narrow focus of what's allowed.
Personally, I don't care that Anytown Library System said it's a great book, unless that Anytown is regional or larger.
Others might care.
That is where we need someone from TPTB to draw the line in the sand of what is acceptable.
So when others try to erase the line, we can redraw it.
I think Tim is nearly always in favor of more information instead of less, so I wouldn't count on him drawing a line. Maybe it would be more useful to ask Tim for a way for users to rate the awards so that can be sorted so that more important (as decided by LT users) awards are on top.
Perhaps what LT should do first is create a section for Bestsellers like it has for Awards, Characters,etc. Once they are transferred, then look at the remaining awards and see which should remain.
The bestseller lists and things like Pringle's Best 100 Fantasy are lists.
The lists feature needs to be extended to cope with them. Also lists should be linked to the work and author page as the awards are.
This topic is not marked as primarily about any work, author or other topic.