May 17th, 2016

Hugo Logo

Supporting Members Have Always Been With Us

A comment on grrm's LJ in response to a comment of mine read, in part:
In discussions about this topic over the weekend with other SFWA members at Nebula con, I was led to believe that the supporting membership was only 5-6 years old.
I don't know how this sort of thing gets started, but it's clearly being repeated by people who don't actually know a whole lot of about how Worldcons run and how WSFS works.

Collapse )

Note that everywhere above where I say "supporting and attending members" or variations of it, that also includes any other class of member (e.g. Young Adult, Military Discount) granted WSFS membership rights by the individual Worldcon. The WSFS Constitution gives Worldcons a great deal of leeway about granting WSFS membership rights, other than they can't sell a membership with the rights of a Supporting membership for less than the cost of a Supporting membership. (Section 1.5.8 of the current WSFS Constitution, effective this year, adds this restriction.)

While there has been one change that was relatively recent (extending eligibility to the following year's members), it seems unlikely that this had much impact on the results of the nominations in the past two years. In any event, supporting members have been able to participate for as long as I've been involved with Worldcon (1984), and in fact have been participating for over fifty years. Proposals to strip them of their voting rights, particularly if they were members of the current Worldcon, would be a significant and drastic change in Worldcon practice.