Kevin Standlee (kevin_standlee) wrote,
Kevin Standlee

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New Business is New Business

Apparently, some people have gotten the mistaken impression that the items of New Business listed on the WSFS Business Meeting Agenda are somehow officially sanctioned by the WSFS Board of Directors (there is no such body) or the current Worldcon. Also, there may be people who somehow think that only things proposed by "the SMOFS" or "the Worldcon" can be on the agenda, or that all of the commentary attached to each of the proposals is some sort of Official Analysis. None of this is true.

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Apparently sometimes it is not obvious that there is an Agenda document. In 2007 in Japan, we had to make it this obvious that you can't tell the motions without a scorecard.

The New Business consists of Constitutional Amendments (labeled B.1.n) and Resolutions (labeled B.2.n). Each item on the agenda is a separate proposal and will be considered separately. Each item includes the proponents' statements about what the proposal does. You can consider this to be the "opening argument" for the proposal. Including such statements is a good thing for later interpretation of a proposal, because it establishes the "legislative intent" of the proposal. Indeed, when trying to interpret a proposal, you want to know the legislative intent as stated by the proponents. (The opponents' arguments are irrelevant in establishing legislative intent, by the way.)

There is no requirement that proposals to this year's Business Meeting solely address how Hugo Award nominations work. There are proposals on the agenda that do not modify the Hugo nomination mechanism at all other than by changing the categories: the Best Saga proposal would merge the two "middle fiction" categories into a Best Novella category (also moving the boundary between Short Story and Novella up to 10K works from the current 7.5K), and add a Best Saga category aimed at series works. This proposal is independent of any proposed changes to the nominating mechanism including 4/6 and E Pluribus Hugo.

(As it happens, the two clauses of the Best Saga proposal are independent of each other; the meeting could vote to separate (majority required to Divide the Question) the clauses and vote on them separately.)

I know that there are a lot of people first encountering the Business Meeting of WSFS this year. Every voting member of WSFS can participate in the Business Meeting. You don't have to be part of some special select committee. You don't have to be "a SMOF" (whatever you think that means these days) to submit a proposal. Any two or more voting members of the current Worldcon (including supporting members) can submit a proposal to the Business Meeting. However, only attending voting members (including Military and Young Adult, and not including Single Day) can attend, debate, make motions, and vote at the meeting in Spokane.

The deadline for submitting proposals to the Business Meeting this year is August 6, 2015. The procedure for submitting proposals is listed on the Business Meeting page on the Sasquan web site under "New Business Submissions." The WSFS Rules are published online and are distributed to the members in the progress reports. None of this is secret. And if you have questions about the process, you can write to me or to the entire WSFS business meeting staff through the wsfs-business address

I've written a Guide to the Business Meeting that tries to explain this. I'm available to answer questions. I just beg of people to not assume the worst of everything. It's very frustrating to work this hard and to hear people assuming that it's all rigged in some way. Well, it's set up to allow the members who choose to participate in the process to come to a decision in a way that balances the rights of the members as a whole, of the members who attend, of majorities and minorities, of individuals, and of absentees, in a fair manner. However, "fair" and "I got what I personally wanted" are not always the same thing, and it would be wise to keep that in mind when approaching any form of deliberative assembly.
Tags: business meeting, hugo award, worldcon, wsfs

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