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February 14, 2016

Heads up: Hugo PINs
Posted by Abi Sutherland at 06:26 AM * 67 comments

I keep seeing it on Twitter, but I haven’t seen much in the way of heads-ups in less ephemeral fannish media, so here’s what I know. Note that I don’t have any insider knowledge; this is just assembling links and publicly posted information for the convenience of anyone who might have missed the chatter.

  • Some (many?) people who are eligible1 to nominate2 for the Hugos and elected to receive information electronically don’t have their credentials, though the date announced on the MidAmericon page (February 5) is past.
  • If you cannot find your credentials in your inbox, check your spam trap(s).
  • If you still can’t find them, email hugopin@midamericon2.org3. They should get back to you within a day or two, though I’m sure that depends on traffic and volunteer time.
  • Try out your credentials (or start nominating!) by following the instructions on this page. If that doesn’t work, try swapping your first and last names4.
  • I’ve seen mention of some problems with some of the PINs sent out. If it still doesn’t work, contact them again and they’ll sort you out5.

Nominations close at 23:59 North American Pacific Daylight Time (GMT - 7) on March 31, 2016. You do not have to fill all the nomination slots or nominate in all categories to participate. If you are unsure whether a work is eligible, the rules are stated in plain English here. Hugo administrators will rule on edge cases.

Happy nominating! It’s been an awesome year for our genre; there’s a lot to choose from.

Mod note: Please only comment on this post about the process of getting your PIN and logging in, plus related matters. I’m going to unpublish or disemvowel conversations about the works to nominate, the ways people choose those works, and all mention of domestic mammals of any sort. I haven’t the spoons just at the moment.

  1. As a reminder, you are eligible to nominate for Hugos if you are or were:
    a voting member of the 2015 [Sasquan], 2016 [MidAmeriCon II], or 2017 [Worldcon 75 in Helsinki] Worldcons by the end of the day (23:59 North American Pacific Standard Time/GMT - 8) on January 31, 2016
  2. This is distinct from voting for the Hugo awards from the list of nominated works, which will happen later and under different eligibility criteria.
  3. It scarcely needs mentioning that being pleasant and including all the relevant details on this email is Totally A Thing. People dealing with email workarounds to technical glitches are not, as a rule, happy and unstressed bunnies.
  4. Pleased to meet you. My name is Sutherland Abigail (call me Suth) and I love merging data from multiple sources. (I’m seriously not bothered by this, honestly, having both Been There and Done That many times myself.)
  5. vide 3

Updated to add: the MidAmeriCon II Twitter account posted this update:

…so it’s worth waiting a bit to see if the PIN email turns up. You may still have to fiddle with names and numbers once it does.

Further bulletins as events warrant.

Comments on Heads up: Hugo PINs:
#1 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2016, 08:08 AM:

I am one of those missing. I joined Sasquan so as to vote for the Hugo Awards, there was a glitch in their PIN process which was corrected, but nothing yet from Midamericon.

I have checked my spam trap.

I find myself asking why I bothered joining an American worldcon. Was the vote worth it? I have never had a good experience from membership, almost as if people in the USA think the world stops at the 12-mile limit, and I know that's not true.

Frankly, I have reached the point where I don't care any more. If the juvenile hounds of hell are trying to mess with the nominations again, let 'em.

I understand you have a saying in Chicago, and, as a foreign member of an American Worldcon, this is the third time.

And I really did have a great-uncle named James Bond.

#2 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2016, 08:21 AM:

Dave Bell @1:

Email the address I listed and they'll sort you out. It's just a computer snafu, not a personal slight.

Proof? I noticed on Patrick's Twitter stream that a convention GOH, indisputably resident in the US, had a problem and had to email.

#3 ::: Erik DeBill ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2016, 08:24 AM:

I bought supporting memberships for my wife and I. She got her PIN. I didn’t :/ It’s pretty easy to get burned by rate limits and anti-spam measures when sending lots of emails, so I’m somewhat sympathetic. I’ve emailed and hopefully it’ll all be cleared up quickly.

I think I had to do this a couple years ago, so this isn’t unheard of.

#4 ::: SunflowerP ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2016, 08:29 AM:

FWIW (since the amended date is also past), this page has an update indicating that the emailing of PINs was taking longer than anticipated, but should be complete by 8 Feb.

#5 ::: Lydy Nickerson ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2016, 09:14 AM:

I didn't get my PIN, and emailed. A day later, still PINless in Minneapolis, I emailed again. I got an email from a person, saying that he had sent it to me, and I not received it? Since I was scanning my spam trap for Hugo and MidAmeriCon, it's distinctly possible that I discarded the first email.

However, I got my PIN, the person was very pleasant, and it worked on the first try. (Which was a surprise to both of us, as he had said it looked like there was a duplicate error.) And I'm weirdly excited and delighted, since I've never, you know, done the nomination thing before. I usually just wait for the short list.

There's still time to expand and refine. My ballot's a bit thin, as I didn't read a lot this year. But it's neat to be involved in the process.

#6 ::: Steven desJardins ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2016, 09:43 AM:

I'll be interested to see if there's an uptick in paper ballots this year, from people who never get their PIN and who never even hear about the problem/solution.

#7 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2016, 09:53 AM:

Steve @6:

My concern would be an uptick in not nominating from people who had signed up for electronic notifications only, want to nominate, but don't do it in time because the email with the PIN was the reminder they were waiting for.

Were I not deeply enough connected into the community to hear about this on Twitter, that would be me.

#8 ::: Eemeli Aro ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2016, 09:56 AM:

From the MAC2 twitter account, a few hours ago: "I have an update from the Hugo team that they have identified an issue with the Hugo PIN mailing software. They are working to resolve the problem and will be resending pins to everyone as soon as possible. We are very sorry for the inconvenience and delay this has caused."

#9 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2016, 09:57 AM:

I emailed and a pparently am a member of an entire class of screwed-upness that they had not previously known about.

I still don't have my pin, but apparently now they know what bushes to beat.

#10 ::: Steven desJardins ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2016, 10:45 AM:

Oh yes, I'm sure that most people who never got a PIN would not vote at all, instead of figuring out how to fill out a paper ballot. I was just thinking that this would be a quantifiable measure of the screwup: someone who never gets their PIN doesn't vote at all is hard to distinguish from someone who never intended to vote, but a sharp uptick in paper ballots would be a clear indication of people wanting to vote electronically and not being able to.

A solution would be far better than a post-election autopsy technique, however.

#11 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2016, 10:46 AM:

I hadn't received my PIN, so I requested it. They sent it, and I found the email in my spam trap. I don't know whether a previous email was caught in my spam trap.

Panix has changed their spam settings. I hope it helps.

#12 ::: alisea ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2016, 10:56 AM:

Thanks for that public service announcement. I'm still pinless, but just emailed them. Without this post, which says exactly what to do in that case, I probably wouldn't have gotten around to it before it was too late.

#13 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2016, 11:20 AM:

alisea @12:

That is the precise situation that I realized I could well have ended up in, and the reason I wrote the post. Win!

#14 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2016, 11:26 AM:

I got my PIN without any problem, but I have yet to try it out.
Some of the reported solutions include swapping first and last names, and using A or S with the membership number.

#15 ::: Mark Bernstein ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2016, 12:36 PM:

A quick note that others may find useful: It took me two tries to log in to the nominating ballot. The trick was to specify "S200" as my membership number, instead of just "200". This may or may not be related to the fact that I received my nominating credentials as someone who was a supporting member of Sasquan, since I hadn't bought my MAC2 membership yet.

#16 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2016, 12:54 PM:

I've gotten my PIN at least twice -- which is a much happier situation than not getting it at all! Good on you, Abi, for making this post happen.

#17 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2016, 12:56 PM:

The Internal Server didn't like me complimenting Abi for writing this post. Maybe this will make it happier.

#18 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2016, 01:06 PM:

Thanks for the reminder; I'm another one who didn't receive their PIN. (Forgot to go looking because I'm on the road at present. Midamericon Hugo folks emailed per blog entry).

#19 ::: Steve Halter ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2016, 01:53 PM:

Oddly, I received my pin three times.

#20 ::: cyllan ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2016, 03:11 PM:

PIN requested and received within less than 2 hours. My first and last name are reversed, but that's fine. Thanks for the reminder to track this down!

#21 ::: weatherglass ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2016, 03:19 PM:

Thank you for this. I'd begun to vaguely wonder if I'd missed an email with my pin, or whether I actually hadn't gotten one and should contact someone about it. The confirmation that it's a widespread problem is much appreciated- I'd probably have put off dealing with it until it was too late, otherwise.

#22 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2016, 05:30 PM:

For my part, I got my PIN with no problem, on the second or third day of the initial mailing period; and when I went to use the login information it worked without a hitch. Who knew that I was a special snowflake?

#23 ::: Paul Lalonde ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2016, 05:39 PM:

I was one of the missing. In less than 3 hours it was all sorted out and I now have my PIN.

Well done Terry and MidAmericon2.

#24 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2016, 08:21 PM:

I had gotten my PIN on time, but thanks for the tip about including "A" or "S" as part of your member number. My Midamericon member number (sans A) was including in the email I got, but it didn't work until I put the A on front.

#25 ::: Kevin Riggle ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2016, 11:32 PM:

Thank you for the reminder, Abi. I had seen the talk on Twitter but not actually done anything about it yet.

Given the (understandable) weight with which nominations this year are frought, I would quite rather they just sent everybody's PIN again, at the risk of duplicates, rather than making some hundreds of us go bother a person individually.

#26 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2016, 11:53 PM:

As it turned out, I didn't need to add a letter to my membership number, but I did need to reverse my first and last names.

#27 ::: Spotted Quoll ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2016, 07:21 AM:

I haven't had an email with a pin yet. I'll email them in a minute with my details, because I do want to nominate a couple of things.

I strolled over to the site, planning to solve the problem by buying a supporting membership

As a small nocturnal marsupial predator I also have a short memory. I could have sworn a supporting membership was less than US$50 last year. Like, exactly half that.

But, largely insectivorous australasian hunters have poor memories. Perhaps that's what it's always costed. With the current strength of the US dollar, I won't be buying one. Which is a shame, but nobody's fault. I am well aware that conventions do not run themselves.

#28 ::: Steve Halter ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2016, 09:48 AM:

I had to add a "A" to the front of my membership number.

#29 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2016, 10:07 AM:

I paid $40 for a supporting membership last year, but it might have been cheaper if I'd bought it earlier.

#30 ::: Steven desJardins ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2016, 10:30 AM:

According to Loncon 3's web site, the site selection fee (which includes a supporting membership to the winning bid) was $40. The price for a supporting membership is sometimes higher than the site selection fee, but in my experience it's never lower. (There may even be a Constitutional impediment to offering cheaper supporting memberships, but I'm too lazy to check.)

#31 ::: Kevin Riggle ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2016, 01:30 PM:

In case anyone else is confused by this---the thing beginning 'KC' followed by 10 digits is your PIN, not your membership number.

If you put your PIN in the 'membership number' field it will silently drop the last two digits but not otherwise behave differently than if some other error were present.

I also had to reverse my names.

#32 ::: Scrabble ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2016, 01:40 PM:

I have received my PIN, but it doesn't work.

Things I have tried, separately and in combination with each other:

1. Reversing the order of my names
2. Adding an S to the start of my membership number
3. Adding an A to the start of my membership number
4. Adding an M to the start of my membership number, because... I don't know
5. Hand-typing instead of copy-pasting
6. Lowercasing everything
7. Using my first initial only

One of the admins mentioned something about "duplicate PINs". Does anyone have any further information about this? When should I reach out to them again, and when should I forbear in order to keep their inboxes from exploding?

#33 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2016, 04:25 PM:

I am still waiting, six days after initial bug report, for anything other than, "Sorry, we're working on it." Apparently the previously-unknown-to-tech-support group I'm part of is ... tenacious.

(that group being "bought a Helsinki membership in the last week before Jan 31", in case any of you are in the same boat)

#34 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2016, 07:07 PM:

Was Sasquan Supporting Member, had to email to get my PIN. It arrived overnight to my inbox (a prompt response especially given timezone differences) and worked without having to try the variations listed above.

#35 ::: Steve Wright ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2016, 07:12 AM:

As a contrasting data point... I got my PIN, five times in total. (All the same PIN, and it works without any problems; I don't have to add an S to my membership number or anything.)

I suspect the sound of people at Midamericon tearing their hair out over this issue might be audible even in the UK... all I can do from here, of course, is offer my best wishes that it gets sorted out to everyone's ultimate satisfaction!

(And, of course, use the darn PIN and get nominating. My ballot is taking shape.)

#36 ::: Scrabble ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2016, 09:23 AM:

Let's see... I bought a Midamericon supporting membership on... January 18. So I dunno what that says about it all.

#37 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2016, 09:33 AM:

Scrabble (36): Given Elliott's problems, it sounds like the timing could be an issue.

Also, since you have a supporting membership, it would be an 'S' that you might need to add to your member number. (S=supporting, A=attending)

#38 ::: Scrabble ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2016, 10:50 AM:

@Mary Aileen: Alas, I've tried it, to no avail. [Tragedy face.]

#39 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2016, 11:07 AM:

Scrabble (38): Yes, you said you had tried all possible combinations. I was just trying to save you a little trouble the next time, when they get your PIN sorted out. :)

#40 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2016, 12:04 PM:

I just managed to log in. Had to swap my first & last names.

#41 ::: Ingvar M ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2016, 03:17 PM:

Initially didn't get my PIN, mailed and inquired, got PIN by return email within, oh, half an hour or so. Stellar work, Terry.

Managed to log in, but ended up having to swap first and last name (and, alas, mis-spell my last name, seems an "s" went walksies at some point). Can't recall if I needed to play shenanigans with an A prefix for the membership number, but think I didn't.

#42 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2016, 03:21 PM:

Datum: I had to request a PIN but it's worked great & was able to log in first try; no need to swap names, add prefixes, or any other trick needed. So even if I get run over by a truck tomorrow, my nominating ballot will have some items.

#43 ::: Scrabble ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2016, 03:34 PM:

Thanks, Mary Aileen!

Ingvar M, was your name misspelled/swapped around in the official email or did you have to make some kind of intuitive leap?

#44 ::: Michael Johnston ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2016, 03:40 PM:

I got my PIN; it didn't work. I emailed them, the person who responded said it looked like I had a duplicate PIN and he'd escalate it to an admin. A week later I asked if there was any news and got a "We're working on it, sorry!" Which, OK, but keep me in the loop, eh?

#45 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2016, 04:05 PM:

I did not receive my PIN. Have just emailed to ask for it. (Sasquan supporting member in NJ, if we're doing some sort of statistics.)

#46 ::: Magenta Griffith ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2016, 04:25 PM:

I got my member number and PIN email 8 times! But I just checked it, and it works.

Now I need to know what's eligible. I meant to keep track of what I read, but I didn't. The "I see you read science fiction" thread had some ideas, but I am wondering where else I could look. I don't pay much attention to publication date, and would be nice to have my memory jogged, as in, "oh, *that* was published in 2015, and I liked it."

#47 ::: Ingvar M ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2016, 04:48 PM:

Scrabble @ #43:

It was (and probably is) mis-spelled on the membership list, happily I'd checked it mere hours before. When it didn't work with all the esses in, I tried dropping one.

The name-swapping was mentioned as a possible issue in the email.

#48 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2016, 05:12 PM:

Technology is so cool.
When it works.
And you can figure out how to use it.

#49 ::: Steve Wright ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2016, 03:51 PM:

@Magenta Griffith: there's a few sites out there listing Hugo-eligible works for this year; a couple that I visit regularly are

Rocket Stack Rank


the Hugo Nominations Wikia

(There's also this blog by Ken Marable, where I've been known to stick my own oar in, more than occasionally.)

There's plenty of opinions, pro and con, about the stories on offer - but these sites will, at least, give you some idea of the sort of stuff that's eligible (and maybe point you at other things the sites' collators have missed, who knows?)

#50 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2016, 09:50 AM:

Wholly off topic I know, but some people here might enjoy the Nixoniad:

#52 ::: Jim Henry ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2016, 12:14 PM:

I didn't receive a PIN automatically. I emailed asking for my PIN on 17 February and received it a few hours later. I just tried logging in and had to prepend an S to the membership number to get it to work. Also, MAC seems from the PIN email to think my name is Henry James, but logging in that way didn't work; the correct James Henry did work.

#53 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2016, 04:50 PM:

And here I was going to ask you to autograph my copy of Portrait of a Lady.

#54 ::: Scrabble ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2016, 09:56 AM:

So according to one of the admins, the solution to my problem was to ignore the "invalid info" error message and just enter the exact same info a second time. I have no idea why that works and I find it very foolish, but I'm glad I can actually get in now...

#55 ::: Craft (Alchemy) ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2016, 10:06 AM:

I have just received mine for the third time - first time after querying, second and now entirely unlooked-for.

I also had to preface my membership number with an S.

#56 ::: Steve Halter ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2016, 10:10 AM:

I just received mine again. This time it correctly had an A in front of the membership ID.

#57 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2016, 11:44 AM:

I receieved mine for the first time just now.

#58 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2016, 11:57 AM:

I have still not received my PIN, after several queries. All responses boil down to, "No, haven't fixed it yet, working on it."

#59 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2016, 12:31 PM:

I just got mine again, too. Like Steve Halter's, mine now had the necessary A in front of the member number.

The first time around, it took them a few days to send out all the PINs. I'm guessing it may take awhile to complete this re-send, too.

#60 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2016, 12:35 PM:

Just got my PIN, for the first time, and I hadn't contacted the admins at all.

#61 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2016, 12:56 PM:

I just got my PIN again.

The first one they sent me worked fine, once I got the 'S' on the correct end of the membership number.

#62 ::: Magenta Griffith ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2016, 04:47 PM:

Thanks to Steve Wright and P J Evans for links to Hugo list sites. This is what I was looking for.

#63 ::: Buddha Buck ::: (view all by) ::: February 25, 2016, 10:02 PM:

The PIN I just received includes an apology that wasn't present with the PIN I received a while ago.

#64 ::: J Homes ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2016, 02:17 AM:

My PIN arrived, for the first time, and without prompting (although I was about to). No messing around with the membership number or swapping the name fields required. The membership number does not have a letter prefix.

I have just made my first ever Hugo nominations!

J Homes.

#65 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2016, 06:15 PM:

Has anyone mentioned the Hugo eligible art tumblrs?

#66 ::: David Wallace ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2016, 08:36 PM:

Are there any sites listing works that are eligible for nominating to the retro-Hugos this year? I'd love to see a list so I can know which of the various stories I remember from my youth might have been originally published in the correct year.

#67 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2016, 09:12 PM:

There are several collections of stories that are public domain and eligible.
Go to File 770 and search for 1941 Hugo - that gets you all the posts where they're linked.

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