Sorry, no contest this year. As you may know, this contest was run a little differently from most and had a regular team of judges rather than being open up to public voting. Over the past few years we’ve lost more judges than we’ve gained, and no longer have enough to provide good results. It’s possible it’ll come back next year if we get a whole bunch of new judges, but it seems unlikely at this point.
How many judges would you need, hypothetically?
Generally the goal has always been to get each story reviewed by at least four judges (we were down to three last year as we lost a judge unexpectedly after we’d already started the contest) where a judge would tackle a category in its entirety so that all stories across that category would have consistent rating. So with four prose categories and two IF categories there were 24 “judge slots”. Of course though we had a few individual judges who read every category and that makes a huge difference. We lost one of them to the pandemic along with another who had to change work schedules and could no longer do it, plus a few others who were doing one or two slots due to general attrition. We’d probably need to cover 15 slots to bring the contest back in its old form. We’re open to bringing it back in a more restricted form, though; we’ve considered dropping all the school-age categories and just leaving IF and one prose category, and that’d probably make it doable. We also considered shifting to IF-only, and that’d also make it a doable thing.