August 30th, 2013


WSFS Preliminary Business Meeting Report

As expected, it was a long (>2 hours), complex Preliminary WSFS Business Meeting (PBM). I'm not hugely surprised at the results, but it's clear that many people who are not really familiar with how procedures work thought things were being ram-rodded through and that they were being disenfranchised. They weren't, and I'll explain why down below. I admit to some frustration as people who want action RIGHT THIS MINUTE and who assume that they have unlimited rights of debate, which they do not. I also categorically reject any idea that Donald Eastlake III, the presiding officer, was engaged in any biased actions. What Don does do is move pretty darn quickly, and does not stop to explain every nuance of procedure over and over again. Essentially, I tend to run the meeting with what I think is a greater concern for explaining to newcomers or inexperienced (or experienced-but-clueless, of which we have a fair share) attendees than Don does. That's not intended to be a slam on Don; my approach has been criticized as slowing down the meeting and annoying the people who do know how things work and don't need to have it all explained to them.

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After dealing with new constitutional amendments introduced from the general membership, we turned to committee reports.

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Then it was time for the Hugo Eligibility/Rest of the World Committee, whose report was very complicated, consisting of both resolutions having to do with eligibility extensions and also three constitutional amendments on the subject.

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The Formalization of Long List Entries (FOLLE) Committee was continued by unanimous consent.

While much of the above was going on, I was being distracted by text messages asking what people could do about the YA Hugo issue. I begged people by both text and Twitter to please show some patience because you can't introduce new business while existing business is pending. At the end of the Committee Reports, I raised a Parliamentary Inquiry to ask if it would be in order either at the Preliminary Meeting or the Main Meeting to request the chair's permission (or to suspend the rules and permit) a motion to create a YA Hugo Study Committee. Don said that yes, it would be permitted. I sat down. People asked (by text) if that had created the committee; I said it had not. At that point, I expected the proponents to submit one, perhaps tomorrow, but events moved beyond me, as I'll explain below. But first came Resolutions that were on the agenda. These could be finally resolved at today's meeting.

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With a bit of prodding by Kent Bloom, I got up and asked the Chair's consent (which was given) to submit a motion creating a YA Hugo Study Committee, to charge the committee to study the issues related to a YA Hugo or other similar award, and to prepare a report to the Loncon 3 Business Meeting. I said that I am not willing to chair such a committee, but that I'm willing to be a member of it at least to serve as a technical consultant.

Somewhat to my surprise, the motion to Create a YA Hugo Committee PASSED by unanimous consent. People wanting to be on the committee need to talk to Don Eastlake, who will announce his decisions about appointments, including the Committee Chair (who can appoint other people), by the end of the final Business Meeting.

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So here's what's left for the Main Business Meeting to discuss and vote upon Saturday:

  • Worldcon Publications/A Matter of Trust: The amendment to the proposal needs to be resolved first, then whatever survives that process gets voted upon.

  • 4.1.2: No Representation Without Taxation

  • 4.1.3: Keep Us Together

  • 4.1.6: WSFS Accountability Act of 2013: This one probably will have some amendments or even wholesale revisions proposed to it.

  • 4.1.8: Expand Best Fan Artist

  • 1.4.3/4: Two-Thirds Is Good Enough: I'm not expecting a whole lot of debate on these, but I could get surprised

  • 1.4.7: We Don't Need Another HEROW

So the most controversial proposals have all been killed without debate. I'm afraid the feelings of some people have been badly hurt, and I've seen accusations of deliberate malice lodged against the meeting Chairman, which I categorically reject. Maybe Don doesn't stop and explain things the way I'm prone to do, but there is no way on Earth that Don was engaged in any deliberate conspiracy or attempt to silence individuals. He goes a lot faster than I do sometimes, that's all.

The PBM did exactly what it is designed to do: weed out proposals that do not have enough support to even discuss. I said this in my article about the BM: "fair" doesn't necessarily mean that you get your way. Sometimes, it doesn't even mean you get a chance to make your case. That's how the system works. It's not specific to WSFS; that's how deliberative assemblies organized under American parliamentary law work. Politics is messy that way.

WSFS Preliminary Business Meeting Videos

After determining that trying to use my smartphone's internet bridge to upload the Business Meeting Videos would take (literally) thousands of hours, I sprung for the $16/day high-speed (wired) internet service and set the videos to uploading while we went out to dinner. By the time we came back, the videos had all posted.

These are raw video, not edited, no subtitles or other pretty stuff. Because we only are doing a single-camera shoot, and because most people don't like sitting in the forward rows, it looks like there are only a handful of people in the room instead of the perhaps 150 who were actually present:

Part 1: The Stuff You Really Care About (YA Hugo, Fan Hugos, BDP Very Short Form, the other proposed constitutional amendments).

Part 2: Stuff Some of You Care About (Hugo Award eligibility extensions, Retro-Hugo eligibility extension debate, some other committee reports)

Part 3: Stuff Vaguely Interesting (Resolutions, discussion of Retro-Hugo eligibility extension for The Hobbit, beginning of Worldcon financial reports)

Part 4: Stuff Almost Nobody Pays Attention To (Recent Worldcon financial reports, closing matter and adjournment)

Worldcon Day 2: Whew, WSFS

As you may have determined by the previous two entries, I spent nearly all day immersed in WSFS stuff. We had to be down there about 9 AM to make sure we had everything set up. Worries started early when Don Eastlake was standing outside the locked room. All of the other function rooms on the 0 level (Riverwalk) were unlocked and open except 006CD, where the Business Meeting is. Fortunately, someone finally turned up and unlocked the door giving us enough time for Lisa to get the camera set up, for Don to get the computer and projector for slides working, and for everyone to get the microphones working and the lectern in place.

Then there was the 2-plus hour meeting and the tear down of the equipment. Lisa and I went to lunch with Linda Deneroff after the meeting, and then I went back to the room to write up the meeting while Lisa went and sat at the Luna Society table. I tried setting the Business Meeting videos to download through my smartphone connection, posted my report of the Meeting, and went to find Lisa.

After all this, we actually got a whole hour to actually walk through the dealers room and some of the exhibits. Wow! We can't go into the Art Show because they make Lisa leave her backpack (and travelswithkuma) at the door, and she won't do that. But we can tour the exhibits. And we also got both our Worldcon and NASFiC Site Selection ballots cast.

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Anyway, after voting and actually looking at some of the convention, we went back to the room, where I gave up on the smartphone and then broke down and bought the $16/day fast broadband. On the bright side, up to five devices can use the connection, and I did bring the router, so Lisa could get online with ActiveWorlds as well later. But first, I set the four Business Meeting videos to uploading, which took an hour or so as I recall. We went to dinner while they uploaded. Coming back from dinner, we met Linda Deneroff and we all took a walk down the Riverwalk, as Lisa and I had a small errand at the CVS/Pharmacy anyway.

Taking a longer walk after that was a bad idea. Although it's cooler at night, it's still hot and muggy, and Lisa started getting sick. We struggled our way back to the hotel, where Lisa could take a bath and cool off in our room, which we can cool to a livable temperature. She took the night off and caught up with ActiveWorlds while I made the rounds of the parties.

At Midnight, I found myself turning into a pumpkin and returned to the room. Now I must try to get the five or six hours sleep I can expect to get before we're up early again on Saturday before we do it all over again. Except maybe the part about taking walks that make us sick.