First up was the election of members to the WSFS Mark Protection Committee. Once again, this is the committee that manages WSFS's intellectual property such as the service marks on "Hugo Award" and "Worldcon," manages the web sites for worldcon.org and related domain names, and appoints and manages the Hugo Awards Marketing Committee, which itself runs TheHugoAwards.org.)
Because of Ruth Sachter's resignation from the committee, there were four seats available rather than three. The first three people elected got the full 3-year term seats, while the fourth person got the 1-year term. In the list below, the elected members' eligibility zone is listed. We could have elected not more than 2 from the West, 1 from the Central, 1 from the East, and 4 from the Rest of the World. The incumbents seeking re-election were Linda Deneroff, Mark Olson, and Stephen Boucher.
- Linda Deneroff (West)
- Dave McCarty (Central)
- Warren Buff (East)
- Stephen Boucher (Rest of World; 1-year term)
Next was the ratification of the five constitutional amendments passed on from Aussiecon 4. All five were eventually ratified, and take effect at the end of Renovation.
- Change the Membership Rate Limitations: Ratified by unanimous consent
- Electronic Voting: Ben Yalow moved to amend this by removing all of the language regarding site selection, so that e-voting on the Hugos would be protected, but e-voting for Worldcon site selection would not be. (Note that previous interpretations of the WSFS Constitution hold that e-voting is not permitted for site selection. For what its worth, the entire reason this proposal was submitted last year (by me) was to overturn that old interpretation.) Ben's amendment was defeated after debate by a vote on an uncounted show of hands, and then the original proposal was ratified unchanged by a vote on an uncounted show of hands. (It wasn't close in either case.)
- Allow Electronic Distribution of Rules: Ratified on an uncounted vote by show of hands.
- Expand Hugo Nominations Eligibility: This would allow members of next year's Worldcon to nominate on the current year's Hugo Award, not just members of the previous and current Worldcon. This was ratified on an uncounted vote by show of hands.
- Run-Off References: Technical change, ratified by unanimous consent.
- Mark Revision Notice: Technical change, ratified by unanimous consent.
Relatively speaking, with the exception of the debate over whether site selection e-voting should be allowed under any circumstances, the ratifications breezed through, and we'd gotten through most of the day's agenda only 35 minutes after the call to order. However, now we got to New Business, and things got messy.
The competing proposals to kick audio/visual works out of the Best Fanzine category and to create a new category to hold them were combined into a single proposal. Because part of the changes interacted with the Best Semiprozine changes, the chair (with consent of the meeting) divided the changes, and the first thing up was Best Fancast.
There was an attempt to change the new Hugo Category for Best Fancast into a recommendation resolution asking Chicon 7 to use their Special Hugo authority to award a trial category. That failed after debate.
After roughly 30 minutes of debate substantive and technical, the Best Fancast category, with a provision that it would have to be re-ratified in 2016 or else would "sunset," passed by a vote of 75-11. Here's the wording, based only on my transcription from the minutes:
3.3.X: Best Fancast. Any generally available non-professional audio or video periodical devoted to science fiction, fantasy, or related subjects that by the close of the previous calendar year has released four (4) or more episodes, at least one (1) of which appeared in the previous calendar year, and that does not qualify as a dramatic presentation.
We took a recess and then tackled the report of the Best Semiprozine Committee, with an additional amendment passed through from the discussion on Fanzines because it overlaps.
There was an immensely complicated procedural argument that I won't even begin to try and summarize here without a set of the meeting minutes and with the video to watch. Ben Yalow's alternative proposal that would have added "paid professional rates for a significant amount of its content" to the semiprozine criteria failed, and the changes to the Best Fanzine wording to strike out "(or the equivalent in other media)" passed, but only on Best Fanzine, not Best Semiprozine. I think Mike Glyer's report has the transcription right, so I'm not going to repeat it here.
This procedural wrangle lasted until a bit after 12:20, after which we finally brought the main proposal to a vote: It passed overwhelmingly by a vote of 60-4. It appears that some of the opponents to the proposal abstained after seeing the the yes votes were clearly against them.
Summary of New Business:
- Best Fancast Hugo Award: Passed 75-11
- Semiprozine/Fanzine Changes: Passed after amendments to Fanzine definition, 60-4
The meeting adjourned at 12:36 PM, having finally disposed of all substantive business except Site Selection. That will be formally announced at Saturday's Site Selection Meeting, where the newly-seated Worldcon will announce its guests of honor and answer opening questions. After that it will be Question Time for next year's Worldcon, and also for bids for future Worldcons.
No other substantive business is expected at Saturday's meeting. The Worldcon Chairs Photo Session will be in the same room no earlier than 11 AM, and about 20 minutes after that the Mark Protection Committee will meet in the same room. The MPC meeting scheduled for Sunday is therefore cancelled.
I'm uploading video of the meeting now (than Ghod for a higher-bandwidth wired connection at this hotel!) and will post about it when it's available.