Kevin Standlee (kevin_standlee) wrote,
Kevin Standlee

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Change at the Top

As announced earlier today, Mary Robinette Kowal has agreed to chair DisCon III, the 2020 Worldcon. She was appointed to the position by the board of directors of DC3's parent non-profit corporation after William Lawhorn resigned a few days ago. Lawhorn's resignation came after the WSFS division manager and most of the Hugo Award Administration Subcommittee announced their resignations.

Linda Deneroff took over as WSFS division manager, and a new set of people agreed to join the Hugo Administration Subcommittee (HASC). The HASC is very important in the structure of a Worldcon, because while the Worldcon committee can create and appoint members to the HASC, it cannot fire them, and per Section 3.13 of the WSFS Constitution, the HASC's decisions regarding the administration of the Hugo Awards (i.e. voter eligibility, counting of votes, etc.) are irrevocable by the Worldcon Committee. That is, there is a "firewall" between the HASC and the rest of the convention, including the staging of the Hugo Awards ceremony. The HASC is the equivalent of the "independent accountants" who tally the votes for the Academy Awards.

Why am I harping on this? Because Mary Robinette is a finalist for the Hugo Awards this year. Because the HASC existed and had members on it before she joined the convention committee, her involvement in the Awards has no connection to the counting of the ballots and the selection of the winners. The staging of the ceremony is a different part of the convention, and is part of the convention Events division, which does report to the Chair. The vote counting and other administration of the Awards, however, is solely the responsibility of the Hugo Awards Subcommittee.

Another practical matter is that nobody on the HASC is eligible for a Hugo Award, but that's currently moot because the finalists have already been announced.

I do go on about this because I've already seen one person saying that it's a "bad look" to have a Hugo Award finalist chairing the convention, and who seemed to misunderstand the wording in the DisCon III announcement explaining the "firewall" between the Chair and the Hugo administrators.

The new members of the HASC have not been added to the DisCon III website yet, but I expect that to be updated soon. There will also soon be an update to the WSFS Business Meeting staff, because Linda resigned as Business Meeting chair when she agreed to take over managing the entire WSFS Division.
Tags: discon, worldcon, wsfs

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