Kevin Standlee (kevin_standlee) wrote,
Kevin Standlee

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Business Meeting Scheduling: Preliminary Meeting

I'm promoting this up from a comment I made a few days ago.

The WSFS Business Meetings are scheduled for 10 AM - 1 PM on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and (if necessary, but it hasn't been necessary since 1992) Sunday. There are many items on the agenda. Many people want to participate in specific items, but can't set aside three hours a day to sit around waiting for their item to come up. What they want to know is "When will item X happen?"

Unfortunately, it's very difficult to predict exactly when a particular item will come up. Business will be taken up in order, but there's no guarantee of when things will be specifically scheduled, and the meeting can also rearrange the order in which things happen. There's no easy way to schedule things like a tennis tournament ("Not Before ##:##")

I'm going to try here to give some rough guesses as to what will happen when. If you take this as a firm schedule, you're risking missing something you want to do. And remember that the Business Meeting can, generally speaking, reorder the agenda except in some areas where the WSFS Constitution or standing rules prohibit it.

Preliminary Business Meeting (Thursday, 10 AM, RSCC A2)

It is easy to dismiss the Preliminary Business Meeting (PBM) as "just where they set up the debate time limits," but there's a whole lot more involved here, and if you skip this meeting, you run the risk of turning up on Friday and discovering that the business you wanted to debate either is gone completely or has been amended out of all recognition. It's not unheard of for amendments to a proposal to effectively reverse the proposal entirely. (Example: a motion "to commend X for action Y" amended thus: "to commend censure X for action Y.")

To some extent, the PBM is a Quasi Committee of the Whole on Rules. Like the Rules Committees in the US Congress, they have a lot of control over the main meeting agenda and even the specific composition of motions, and the PBM can also kill new business. But unlike those legislative committees, the PBM can also give final passage to anything that isn't a constitutional amendment, and that can be important, as we'll see here.

The agenda order for Thursday is roughly as follows. If something is a resolution or standing rule amendment (not a constitutional amendment), it will be dealt with at the Preliminary Meeting. Constitutional amendments can be amended at this time, and new ones can be killed by a 2/3 vote (Objection to Consideration), but otherwise the Preliminary Meeting will deal with setting debate time limits for consideration on Friday. The figures in brackets are my rough guesses as to when things will happen. The further down the agenda you get, the less predictable the times are.

Also, the numbering below includes an agenda renumbering that I expect to happen but that isn't there as of the time I compose this message due to a standing rule amendment being submitted relatively late in the process after the initial agenda was created.

  • [10:05] Call to Order

  • [10:10] WSFS Mark Protection Committee Report: This includes nominations for members of the MPC (three seats open). Voting on the nominations will happen on Friday.

  • [10:15] Other WSFS Committee Reports: There may be motions originating from these reports. The Semiprozine Committee report in particular is complicated and has a main report and three minority reports. The meeting may decide to try and resolve things at this point, which probably adds at least 20 minutes and shifts everything below later.

  • [10:25] Worldcon Financial Reports: Sometimes there are questions arising from these reports. These questions can be lengthy, and I wouldn't be surprised if we have some rather pointed comments aimed at some past Worldcons this year.

  • [10:35] Business Passed on From Aussiecon 4: Mostly this will be setting debate time limits since the PBM can't handle these directly. Thus this section should go relatively quickly, especially if the attendees agree with the Chair's suggested debate limit times.

  • [10:50] Resolutions: This is where it starts getting interesting, because the PBM can handle resolutions right away. At this point we'll get the resolution reversing the MPC's policy decision from last year.

    • [10:55] Resolution 4.1.1 - WSFS Domains. I don't think this is that controversial.

    • [11:00] Resolution 4.1.2 - MPC Eligibility Rules. This could go a while.

    • [11:15] Resolutions 4.1.3 / 4.1.4 - This Year's Model and Another Year, Another HEROW. Probably routine and non-controversial unless people want to argue about making this permanent.

    • [11:20] Resolution 4.1.5 - Extension of Eligibility of "Summer Wars" — not likely to be argued a lot; either it will get the 3/4 vote or not.

  • Standing Rule Amendments: This is what will cause the original agenda to get renumbered.

    • [11:30] Resolution 4.2.1 - All the Time in the World. This is a standing rule amendment to require new business be submitted at least 14 days (instead of 18 hours) in advance. This can be passed finally here, so it's debatable at the time, but I'm not sure how controversial it will be.

  • Recess: I expect a ten-minute recess around this point in the meeting.

  • New Constitutional Amendments: Because amendments to new proposals are in order at this time, this will probably take longer than the debate-limit setting.

    • [11:45] Resolution 4.3.1 - Keep the Fanzine Hugo Non-Professional and Resolution 4.3.2 - Best Fancast. These two proposals overlap, and I suspect that the PBM will only want one of them to go forward for consideration on Friday. Arguing how to reconcile them could go on for quite a while. I expect that an ad hoc committee will be formed to try and sort it out.

    • [12:05] Resolution 4.3.3 - Hugo for Children's Books. The controversy here isn't substantive since debate on the merits is reserved for Friday, but technical, as people are going to argue about the overlap between this and existing fiction categories.

    • [12:25] Resolution 4.3.4 - Hugo Exclusions Constitutional Amendment Proposal. If this doesn't die the death of OTC (unlikely), then I'm probably going to introduce a bunch of amendments to it, which will slow things down.

    • [12:45] Constitutional Amendments from the Semiprozine Committee: The Semiprozine Committee Report contains constitutional amendments and multiple conflicting minority reports. Not included in any of the time estimates above is how we're gong to reconcile them, since almost certainly only one proposal will be released to the Main Meeting. I have no idea how this is going to work out. It may get tossed in with the stuff about Fanzines and Podcasts above.

So you can see that we may well use up the entire three hours here and then some.

The Preliminary BM could (but rarely has) set the agenda for Friday in the "not before XX:XX" format, saying that specific items won't be considered before a certain time. Doing so annoys the regular attendees, who (a) think it's wasting their time in case all other items are exhausted before then and (b) don't like single-issue voters and want people to attend the whole meeting if they want to vote on any item happening at that meeting.

This is long enough that I'm going to post a separate message about the Friday Main Business Meeting.

Update, 1135: Put in something about the Semiprozine committee report, which I hadn't calculated in the first version.
Tags: business meeting, renovation, worldcon, wsfs

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