The Reporter's

has launched. In anticipation of the calls and emails that will soon come my way, I thought I'd post this informative compilation of answers to the most common questions.

Q: Why wasn't __________ nominated in the ___________category?

A: There is no nomination process for BOSF. Anyone and everyone is eligible to be voted upon. If you see someone or something you think belongs in a category, you have two options. You can WRITE IN your choice or you can send me a note and I'll add it to the published choices. I will only do ad-ons for the first week of voting.

Q: But a WRITE IN can't win, can it?

A: It can and it has.

Q: I don't understand how you manage to miss so many people/places/stuff in the choices. Why don't you use a master database that has every single thing that exists in Santa Fe.

A: That is an awesome idea. Let me know what time you can come down and install that database for free on my computer and I will be sure to use it from now on. In the meantime, it's pretty much just my flawed and tired brain.

Q: Why do the same people/places/groups win year after year?

A: You tell me. I only get one vote. The winners of BOSF are chosen by the poll participants. A computer program tallies the winners and then we write them up. We've also added several new categories this year, particularly for music, so we will definitely have some new winners. And, to be fair, not all the winners are the same each year.

Q: I think you want the same people/places/things to win year after year.

A: I think many of our repeat winners are great and win because a lot of people think they are great. However, as the person who has edited BOSF for the last TEN years, I can assure you that nothing makes me happier than when we have upsets/new winners/big surprises.

Q: Don't people cheat in BOSF?

A: It's pretty hard, if not impossible, to cheat. The program registers ISPs, so you can't vote more than once from one computer. And then we go through manually, once voting is done, and look for anything suspicious in terms of names/emails etc., for voters. For many years BOSF was done by paper ballot, and it was, IMO, easier to cheat then by stuffing the ballot box. To catch those cheaters, we had to sit around, sometimes until 4 am, analyzing handwriting. That was awesome.

Q: But there are people and businesses that really promote themselves: they send out emails, they put up flyers, they totally try to get people to vote for them.

A: Which isn't cheating. It's competing.

Q: There are so many other categories I wish you had. What does it take to add a category?

A: It's too late this year, because the poll is already live. So be sure to write in your suggestions at the end, or send me a note now or next spring with your suggestions. We do have some limitations (everyone says the poll is too long already), but we're always happy to consider new categories.

Q: Can I share this incredibly helpful and moderately witty note with my friends?

A: Please do! And remember: Just by voting, you become eligible for a drawing in which very fun prizes will be awarded. So log on now!