Kevin Standlee (kevin_standlee) wrote,
Kevin Standlee

The Inherent Complexity of Worldcons

A reminder from dinogrl last night that the Hugo voting deadline was at 2359 PDT yesterday led to a long series of follow ups where I attempt to explain the complexity of Worldcons, site selection, the Hugo Awards, and why it can be confusing and what can be done to explain it better.

I agree completely that there are things we can and should do to explain it better. But there are certain things we cannot do to simplify things without actually making fundamental changes to Worldcon and to the Hugo Awards.

To apply a bit of reductio ad absurdum, the Hugo Awards would be much simpler if we didn't let the members vote for them and allowed a Secret Committee of SMOFS to decide. Oh, that's right, some idiots fans think that's what we already do, because the awards don't reflect their personal opinions.

By the way, some of the complexity in the explanations at BASFA this past week were because we've just come out of a transition period between selecting Worldcon sites three years in advance and two years in advance. That means that there was a year where no Worldcon site selection election happened, thus:

2004, Boston: Voting to select the site of the 2007 Worldcon. Everyone who voted received a supporting membership in the 2007 Worldcon.

2005, Glasgow: No election, although members of this convention were eligible to vote in the site selection election held the following year even if they weren't members of the 2006 Worldcon. This was a one-time provision to facilitate transition from one system to another.

2006, Anaheim: Voting to select the site of the 2008 Worldcon. Everyone who voted received a supporting membership in the 2008 Worldcon.

2007, Yokohama: Voting to select the site of the 2009 Worldcon. Everyone who votes this year will receive a supporting membership in the 2009 Worldcon.

Please understand that voting this year makes you a member of the Worldcon two years from now. It does not make you a member of next year's Worldcon in Denver. In effect, you're buying a membership in WSFS in advance, and it doesn't take effect until after Denvention 3 ends next August.

The system we have is based on rules created and voted on, in large part, by people who attend every Worldcon, or most of them. For anyone who cares about how WSFS and Worldcon works, you're better off voting every single year, regardless of whether you actually attend or not. Think of it as paying $50 dues to the World Science Fiction Society to keep your annual membership active. If you vote every year, you're only paying once a year -- you're just doing so for the Worldcon two years hence. You paid for next year's convention last year, and you paid for this year's convention two years ago.
Tags: worldcon, wsfs

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