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The STIFfies were started in 1992 by Mary Urhausen to fill a void that existed in slash fandom. Although there was Mediawest's FanQ awards that were open to all fannish works, many fans felt the slash material was not given the same consideration as the non-slash material. Since the only other alternatives were specific-fandom slash awards, Mary decided it was time to create an award that recognized all aspects of slash fandom.
In addition to the awards given for published material, STIFfie Awards were presented in the categories of Artist, Author, Poet and Publisher of the Year to those outstanding individuals who helped to further the endeavor of slash fandom.
The STIFfie Awards ran from 1992 through 2000. After they ended, the Screwz awards were created to take their place (2002-2005).
More Specific Information on Individual Years
Controversies: Slash, MediaWest and the idea of fandom-wide awards
The STIFfie Awards Ceremony was held annually on the Sunday preceding Memorial Day at MediaWest Convention in Lansing, Michigan. Although the STIFfie Awards presentation was held annually at MediaWest*Con, they were not in any way affiliated with MediaWest*Con.
Since, technically, slash stories, vids and zines were eligible for Fan Qs and not (apparently) winning ones they should have, this led to conversation throughout fandom about how slash-friendly MediaWest was or wasn't. Then, in the 1997 Progress Report, MediaWest announced that "Due to complains last year, any "slash" themed videos will be scheduled separately; as such, they cannot be considered for the general fannish video competition; however "slash" awards will be considered if there are enough entries to compete. Not surprisingly, slashers did not send their entries in sufficient quantities to compete.
Sadly, in some people's view the STIFfies invalidated the FanQs, without actually validating the STIFfies. Mary Urhausen, while liked, wasn't well enough known, and didn't have the personal charisma and history in fandom to pull off something as big as a fandom-wide award structure. Most fans didn't have any faith that nominations were very wide spread, so there was no real faith in the awards. In many fans' eyes, the STIFies made entire idea of fannish awards lose more credibility.
Some Fan Comments
[from a fan in 1992]:
Now of course, you've all heard of the stiffies, haven't you? I am of course talking about the Slash Talent In Fandom Awards. I just got a nomination form (due February 28) so there is plenty of time for you to mail away for your very own forms.
They are asking for nominations for best poem/filk, best story up to 29 pages published in a zine, best story over 30 pages, but not published as the only story in a zine, best novel (i.e., any piece published as a stand alone), best zine, best informational zine (very broad catagory) and best art published in 1992.
Anyway, you can only nominate something once (you can't nominate the same story for best zine, *and* best novel) and you can nominate as many fandoms as you want, i.e., best pros novel, best B7 novel, etc.
They are also encouraging an overall best Artist, Author, Poet and Publisher of the year for all fandoms.
The forms are available from Mary Urhausen [address redacted]. Send a SASE.
They will be mailing a final ballot in March, and the award ceremony will be held at MediaWest 13.
I know nothing about this except what is in my form. I don't have strong feelings either pro or anti "contests" and competition in fandom, but would be interested in discussing it.P.S. I wish they were also voting for best all time humor story, so I could nominate Lezlie's Fly On The Wall. For you pros newbies, this is a story to look for. 
[from a fan in 1993]:
The Stiffies (Slash Talent In Fandom awards--a scary acronym if I've ever heard one) are given at Media West, somewhat like a slash only version of the Fan Q (though probably not as prestigious--said with large grain of salt)
Regardless of what you think of fan competition, *nominating* worthy zines is a goodthing I think. It gets more attention to the top (? I know, who's top) zines in each fandom. How can we reward quality, if we don't know how to find it in the first place? Ideally, awards and 'best of' lists help us find them.
I'm willing to send out the address and catagories for the stiffies--I posted about it over a month ago, and we've new people sense then--or you can just e-mail me. The quick version is, you can nominate one type (novel, zine, long story, short stary, art, poem, lz) each for each fandom. You can also vote for the overall best artist, poet, writer, and publisher in slash in general for the last year.If you nominate, and send a sase, you'll get a copy of the final ballot, which to me, seems like a deal just to get a recommended reading list of sorts for all kinds of slash fandoms. 
[from a fan in 1994]:
I had very mixed feelings. The nomination forms (and process) are not well thought out, and neither is the voting procedure. The awards seem to go to the best known name regardless of the quality of the story or art. On the other hand, when you first get into a fandom, buying award winning zines isone way of trying to make sure you aren't buying TOTAL dreck. Sigh. Anyone who has seen one of the nominating forms and is willing to think about how they can be written more intellegently, I'd love some help on them. 
ballot for 1995, printed in Media Monitor #10, click to read