Kevin Standlee (kevin_standlee) wrote,
Kevin Standlee

Worldcon 2016 Day 2: Busy with Business and Site Selection

Today at Worldcon I was tangled up in Business Meeting work a good chunk of the day, and with Site Selection the rest of the time.


For the first time since the Worldcon started yesterday, I was able to do constructive work for the San José in 2018 Bid, as I put in a two-hour shift at the end of today's Worldcon Site Selection Voting. (Bids provide most of the staff to run Site Selection, under the supervision of the hosting convention.) It was actually rather restful after what had gone before.

It was an early morning for us, but at least the view was nice out the hotel window.

Morning at MACII
The full moon sailed over the Kansas City Convention Center just before dawn as I we got ready. Last night I'd bought some yogurt so I'd have a quick breakfast in the room. This morning I found that we'd forgot to put it in the refrigerator. Phooey. Fortunately, the hotel had some in the mini-store in their lobby. And free coffee.

2016 WSFS Business Meeting Setup

Lisa and I humped the video and computer gear over to the convention center and were there by 7:30, just in time to meet up with Sean McCoy from Facilities, who gave me a key to the room (2104 is actually dedicated only to WSFS business matters). Shortly thereafter, the tech crew and the rest of the Business Meeting team arrived and we started setting up.

WSFS Video Platform

Lisa got her cameras set up on the platform and here waits for the audio feeds from the audio mixer to be prepared for her to connect to the camera.

WSFS Video Uploads

I started setting up computers. To my dismay, the older Dell laptop (the same box we used to upload last year's meeting videos, and the one that I'd tested just before we left home) refused to boot, and the battery indicator red-lighted. That's not good. Fortunately, I had packed not one, but two spare computers. I put the old Dell away and used the first of the slightly newer Dells. I got the Dell online and connected to the dedicated IP wireless connection that SFSFC paid for so we'd be able to get the videos online relatively quickly. The connection speed is only about 2 mbps up/down, but it's acceptable for low-resolution video.

Recording the WSFS Business Meeting

Lisa got the main camera sighted in with the small Sony as a backup.

Preliminary WSFS Business Meeting

The room started to fill up.

Business Meeting Tailback

There was a queue to get in to the room for people to sign in and collect Business Meeting papers.

2016 WSFS Head Table

The Head Table staff said they were ready to go. From left to right: Lisa Hertel (Timekeeper), Tim Illingworth (Deputy Chair), Jared Dashoff (Chair), Linda Deneroff (Secretary), and Don Eastlake (Parliamentarian).

Once the meeting started, there was no time for photographs. I had to concentrate on not only business (some of which involved me), but also getting Business Meeting videos online whenever Lisa could do a cartridge swap to give me files.

Above is the beginning of the 2016 WSFS Business Meeting playlist on YouTube. I was puzzled by the individual segments seeming to be only half the length of last year's meeting. Eventually, I figured this out: Lisa is recording at twice the resolution of last year's recordings. The low-res files come off the proxy card, which is programmed with an upper file-size limit, not a time limit. With twice the resolution, the segments shrink to half the previous length in order to maintain the same maximum size. Thus no segment is more than just under ten minutes long.

Due to another issue with the time-stamps on the segment files, I ended up uploading four of the sixteen files in the wrong order. I have since corrected this, but it took some hours after it was pointed out on Twitter because I simply didn't have enough time to work on it; not if I wanted to eat or carry out my other commitments like that to SJ in 2018.

The Preliminary Business Meeting was long (it used up pretty much all of the scheduled three-hour slot). It mostly consisted of establishing time limits for the debate that will happen at the subsequent meetings and determining the order of the agenda. This meeting can also kill new proposals, and one proposal met the axe: Additional Finalists. Lisa expected this. It was closer than the 81-36 vote suggests, because it takes two-thirds to postpone indefinitely; had six more people voted in favor of consideration, the proposal would have made it to the Main Meeting. However, if anyone pops up again saying "WSFS needs a Strong Man to Give Orders and Disqualify Finalists," we're going to point at what happened today and say, "WSFS refused to even allow the Administrators to add a couple of extra finalists when they think it was necessary; it seems very unlikely that they'll pass rules that allow the Administrators to pick and choose which nominees they consider worthy to be on the ballot. In other words, WSFS just sent a message that it's up to the members to sort out who should be on the ballot. You're not going to get a Strong Man any time soon.

I do wish that people wouldn't take such obvious delight in suggesting lots of different debate time limits. We spent more time voting on debate time limits than we saved by limiting debate!

Despite the huge agenda, we managed to (barely) establish debate limits for every piece of business and adjourned just before 1 PM. It took me most of the next hour to get the remaining video segments online and then get the equipment ready to go back to the minivan and the hotel room. We hope things will go smoothly on Friday, now that the equipment is in place.

Congratulations to Jared Dashoff for his first full day as a Business Meeting chair. He did a good job.

We met up with Linda Deneroff for lunch in the Exhibit hall. I had more stuff to do for the Hugo Awards web site. Cheryl Morgan had helped as well, getting photos of the Hugo Award trophies shared with us up on the Hugo Awards web site. However, I simply didn't have enough time to get things done quickly.

After my shift at Site Selection, Lisa and I went out to dinner with Linda. I had a proper steak dinner for the first time since we got here.

After dinner, Lisa and I went back to the hotel room rather than to the convention. I spend the rest of the evening getting the Hugo Award trophy announcements online. By then, the 1946 Retro-Hugos were complete, and I got the announcement for that online as well. (We weren't covering the Retro-Hugos live.)

I hope things are a little less frantic tomorrow. On the other hand, I'm part of the SJ in 2018 ballot counting team, so I'll be on the 4-6 shift again tomorrow plus counting time. Regrettably, this means I'll miss another chance to perform in Girl Genius Radio Theatre. But Duty Calls.

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