There was an active party scene tonight, full of crowded parties, but none intolerably so that I noticed. It was, however, pretty warm, as the hotel's air conditioning isn't really up to coping with so many people in this area. People seemed to be enjoying themselves. I was really pleased to run into several more first-time-convention (not just first Worldcon) attendees, although none of them found us by way of TheHugoAwards.org this time.
Earlier this evening I encountered a first-timer that I didn't realize was at his first convention. I had been helping Newsletter with items about the Business Meeting and griping about the usual Business Meeting stuff, and he stuck his oar in and proceeded to tell us how little we knew. I got a little huffy at him, and later apologized. Once I was done with the stuff on deadline, I tried to engage more productively with him. I explained about the WSFS Constitution and rules, and when I started to go into some of the finer points, he said, "Well, the Board of Directors would take care of that."
I said, "We don't have a Board of Directors."
"Then who runs these things?"
I explained that Reno's Worldcon was a completely different corporation than last year's in Melbourne and next year's in Chicago. He still looked puzzled. "Then who decides who runs it?"
"The members. Like you, and me, and everyone else here. You're a member of the World Science Fiction Society because you bought a membership to this convention."
He still didn't understand what was stopping anyone from just running a Worldcon. I tried to explain that there was a small body that managed the service marks, and he persisted in thinking that to be the Board of Directors.
I said, "Worldcon business is run by a 'town meeting' government. Everyone, including you, can show up in Room A2 tomorrow morning and debate and vote."
"What's to stop someone from filibustering." He replied confidently.
"There are rules about debate time limits."
"Well, I could just bring in 5000 people and take it over," he said.
I said, "Yes, you could, but could you get them to come to Chicago next year and repeat it?"
"If I had enough money."
I said, "Nobody is going to spend that much money on a Worldcon."
He still seemed pretty dubious. The idea that Worldcons are run by the members, not by a remote, isolated Board of Directors that controls everything through corporate politics, seemed so strange to him. "You complain about how inefficient it is! It's your own fault!" he complained.
"Yes," I said, "But anything else will get shouted down. And we've been doing things this way since 1939."
I had to go and get dinner at this point, but I'm sure I still haven't convinced him. OTOH, I left him puzzling over the WSFS Constitution in the Souvenir Book. I wonder if he'll be at the meeting tomorrow morning."
[Note that the above conversation is quasi-quoted and summarized from perhaps 20 minutes of chasing around the strange way in which we run our conventions.]