Kevin Standlee (kevin_standlee) wrote,
Kevin Standlee

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So Much for my Supposed Parliamentary Wizardry

Some of you will have already seen what I'm about to describe discussed here.

A few years ago, jbriggs spearheaded a drive to revamp the Westercon site selection. His original idea ended up vanishing along the way, but one of the results of discussions held at SMOFCon 21 in Chicago was a proposal to replace the then-existing two-zone (North-South) system with an "Anti-Zone" system, with three North American zones (plus a fourth "Other" zone that effectively has no sites in it, but ignore that for now). The zone hosting Westercon would not be eligible to run for the two-years-hence Westercon. We drafted up wording (Jim says that he and I are equally responsible), and the amendment to make the change passed at Phoenix and was ratified at Calgary.

We made two mistakes with this proposal:

1. We didn't provide for any "grandfathering" or "transition provisions" to handle moving from one system to another. This led to me being accused of deliberately scheming to undermine an announced Westercon bid. (BTW, this accusation literally reduced me to tears. Incompetent, yes. Malicious? Unethical? That hurt.) But we could get around that one by simply having all of the potential bidders from the new North and Central zones agree to not file a bid. As we all knew, if nobody from the eligible zones files by January 1, then the restriction comes off and the south zone (Las Vegas, Phoenix bids) would be eligible to bid as long as they filed by the April 15 ballot deadline.


2. As Jim explains, when we made the change to Westercon Bylaws section 3.2 to replace the north-south division with a four-zone rotation, we also inadvertently struck out the January 1 "safety valve" deadline. This has led to a situation where, technically, none of the bids that filed (all from the South) may be listed on the ballot!

Follow the comments on jbriggs' LJ. I'm astonished that the drafting committee and two consecutive Westercon Business Meetings seem to have missed the practical effect of what we did. Conzilla is faced with two alternatives, both of which are unpleasant: They can either list the two filed bids with a note that says "technically, these two bids shouldn't have been on the ballot, but everyone who voted for the current rules thought they should have been, so we're doing the equitable thing;" or they can list no bids on the ballot (leaving lots of write-in blanks) and explain in the instructions that there are two real bids but that were prohibited from appearing on the ballot due to a technical error.

I am very unhappy with myself over this. And I wrote most of the Westercon Bylaws. I should be better than this.
Tags: westercon
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