August 11th, 2006

SFSFC

On Holding One's Tongue

As I unofficially announced earlier today on laconiv, L.A.con IV will have an internet lounge after all. It will be small -- eight PCs and two notebook connections -- and it won't include wi-fi, thanks to the convention center's contractual monopoly on such service. I also know that the cost to provide it is substantially more than what it cost us at ConJose four years ago, where we had a whole room full of computers and a limited wi-fi capability. (Wi-fi networking wasn't nearly so important in 2002 as it is now; things have changed rapidly.) This is how monopolies work.

The frustrating thing to me has been not being able to say anything about this for some days now. I'm an SFSFC director, as you know, and have known that SFSFC offered $1000 to L.A.con IV to help pay some of the cost. I did not know until later that MCFI (Noreascon 4) put up $2000 as well, and together, our grants were enough to make it happen. I've wanted to sing out about this for days now, but have had to hold off until I saw something that was at least semi-public. As it is, I ended up leaking it from the convention's staff e-mail list; however, I hope this doesn't get me yelled at by the management.

As a minor aside, note that SFSFC is taking credit for the grant only in the name of the corporation, not as part of ConJose directly. The money in question did not come from the ConJose surplus, that having all been spent. If you had to trace the source of the funding, it probably comes from the surplus of the 1998 World Fantasy Convention held under our corporate umbrella. SFSFC has money -- not a huge amount of it -- that was not part of a Worldcon, and has always been held separately from the individual convention accounts. During ConJose, this was considered "last resort" funds, to be used if we'd run completely off the runway; however, it would have taken a considerable disaster for that to happen. On the other hand, it was reassuring to know it was there, just in case.

Edit, 20:30: Corrected year of the WFC that SFSFC ran.

Edit, 8/12 7:30: Corrected grant amounts.

Edit, 8/13 16:45: Corrected mistake noted in contents.
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Speaking of Grants

I don't remember if I mentioned this before, but Interaction has granted L.A.con IV enough money to pay for a coffee/decaf/tea service at the WSFS Business Meetings on Thursday and Friday. (Coffee catering in convention center space is as absurdly expensive as internet provision -- monopoly provider again.) I've made a poster thanking Interaction for their contribution, and plan to post it at the meeting.
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Business Meeting Thoughts

Those of you who have attended past WSFS Business Meeting at which I've presided or had a significant role will recall the posters with which I attempt to remind the members that meeting life is more than just encyclopedic knowledge of parliamentary procedure. I have printed those posters again, and will put them up if I don't get in trouble with the management and the convention center. (Obviously, I'm putting my faith in Blue Tape.)

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Now if only I can remember these posters while I'm presiding. They are behind me, after all.
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Business Meeting: Rules to Debate By

Notwithstanding my previous post about not getting too carried away about the rules, those rules are important, and it helps if people have at least a general understanding of how they work in order to get the most of our their meeting experience.

A couple of the basic premises of a deliberative assembly like WSFS are One subject at a time and One speaker at a time. But after that, thing can get a little complicated. We'll distribute a double-sided handout that lists most of the procedural motions, but the handout can't take the time that I can here to talk about how those motions work in operation.

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There are two other classes of procedural motions that don't fall into this neat hierarchy, and I'll discuss them in a subsequent posting.
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Business Meeting: Oddball Motions

In my previous message, I wrote about the relatively well-behaved Privileged and Subsidiary Motions. Those motions have rank among themselves and follow a well-defined order of precedence. The rest of the procedural motions I will discuss here have no such order. Each is a law unto itself, and you have to look them up individually to figure out when they take precedence and to which motions (if any) they yield. I'm not even going to try to list that bit, since I have to look them all up too. Instead, I'm going to talk about how they are used (or not used) at WSFS.

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That broadly covers most of the procedural rules we're likely to encounter at a WSFS meeting. Again, a relatively short summary like this won't cover every possibility, but after you've read this, you probably know more about meeting procedure than the people around you, and you will be less likely to be mystified at the Business Meeting.

Edit, 23:00: A point of order was raised against the originally-posted article, noting that I'd left out the section on Point of Order. The Chair ruled the point well-taken and corrected the oversight.

Edit, 8/12 8:45: Fixed some typos and clarified a couple of sentences.
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