Kevin Standlee (kevin_standlee) wrote,
Kevin Standlee

Denvention: Midway

I have to continue to remind myself that D3 started on Wednesday, not the more-typical Thursday. Although I have little problem remembering that it is Day 3, years of Worldcon attendance make me keep putting the wrong relative reference in the day of the week. Today is Friday, not Saturday, but it's the middle day of the convention, and everything will be buzzing along.

In a few minutes, Lisa and I will head over to the convention center and set up for the Main Business Meeting, which is the meat of the matter. Today's meeting should take up the most important issues to be discussed and voted on this year, and (I hope) the debate will focus on the substance of the issues: Should Best Semiprozine be deleted? Should we add a Best Graphic Novel category? Should we add language to the constitution to make it clearer that publication online -- particularly on a web site -- is the same as publication in paper form or other physical media?) I'd rather we discuss issues than getting wrapped up in maddening technical minutiae. And this sentiment is coming from one of WSFS's experts on maddening technical minutiae!

I think the reason even I am losing patience with on-the-floor arguments over such fine points is that it's nearly impossible to resolve such things to everyone's satisfaction. People will, deliberately or not, disguise their dislike of the substance of a proposal with complaints about its form. I did not participate in the technical discussions yesterday, when all three major proposals were referred to ad hoc committees for wrangling over the wording, but I was in the same room dealing with other WSFS business along with Secretary Pat McMurray, and we kept overhearing the committees having to tell people variations of, "that's debate on the substance." Yes, you may think adding a Graphic Novel category is a bad idea; however, it seems to me that you would want the technical language as clear as possible so that if a proposal passes, at least it will be clear what we're nominating.

I've often helped craft language for proposals that I personally dislike. This isn't always obvious because if I'm presiding, you'll never know my opinion unless I were to exercise my casting vote. However, I strongly believe that deliberative assemblies work better when their debate focuses on substantive issues rather than wrangling over the definition of a "word" or something like that.
Tags: business meeting, worldcon, wsfs

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