Brief(?) Summary and Commentary on Thursday and Friday WSFS Meetings 2

Just what it says on the tin. As a note, for my liveblogs I generally try to keep my commentary to standalone statements or parenthetical statements. I do my best to summarize fairly from what I can hear and process while pressed for time. This post is all me.

I have no intention of reproducing the summaries of the resolutions and amendments here. Please see the Sasquan agenda, I will refer to them by name.

Playlist of all the 2015 meetings on youtube is here.

Preliminary Business Meeting (Thursday)

Liveblog here.

So the entire point of the preliminary meeting is to set the agenda and debate times for the main meetings, which is actually extremely powerful and should not be discounted. This is a great place to strange resolutions and amendments in the cradle, so to speak.

The big take-homes:

  • The two year eligibility amendment got killed
  • All other proposed amendments (E Pluribus Hugo, 4 and 6, the 5% Solution, Best Series, Nominee Diversity, Multiple Nominations, Electronic Signatures) made it through with varying amounts of debate time set
  • All amendments originally voted on at LonCon last year were assigned debate times, to be ratified or not in the main business meetings.
  • The electronic signatures amendment, which is supposed to make remote site selection easier, got referred to a short-term committee to come up with language that didn’t suck.
  • E Pluribus Hugo (referred to hereafter as EPH) and 4 and 6 (4/6) were specifically assigned to be debated and voted on for Sunday. This is unusual because there isn’t normally a Sunday meeting. But this takes the two most contentious amendments (the ones that will affect Hugo nominating/voting) and attempts to give them a day of their own. Assuming we manage to get everything else done by the end of business on Saturday.

This meeting was pretty rowdy for a preliminary meeting. I expect things are only going to get more energetic as time goes on.

Business Meeting Number One (Friday)

Liveblog here.

The start of this meeting was devoted to taking care of business that should have gotten done at the preliminary meeting and didn’t. Here are the highlights:

  • The YA Hugo Committee reported that a YA-focused award is a proper request and necessary, but a YA award may not fit in with the normal Hugo methodology. So we should think perhaps something more Campbellian. The committee wants to continue study of the topic for another year and was granted permission.
  • All of the eligibility extensions were passed.
  • The resolution requesting anonymized nomination data for this year’s Hugo’s be provided was passed and Sasquan’s Hugo administrating team expressed their intention to comply with the resolution, which is technically non-binding. Hard data for this year’s clusterfuck will be provided before the Sunday meeting to the people (presumably EPH) who requested it. Other people can request the data, but it will not be simply posted publicly.
  • There was a “Committee on the Whole” regarding EPH and 4/6. This wasn’t for substantive debate, but rather consideration of technical issues. EPH presented their methodology and I was honestly impressed. They’ve converted me to their side and convinced me that they can help deal with the administrative issues; the 2016 Hugo administrator stated that he would also be working with the EPH people no matter what to help them refine their method. For 4/6, it was decided that the actual numbers (number of nominations you make versus number of nominees per category) would be decided on Sunday by fill in the blanks voting rather than burn the limited time today.
  • Just as a note, I consider the potential of EPH to break accidental Dr. Who domination slates a feature, not a bug. I am really fucking tired of seeing one show completely dominate a short form category that should rightfully even have podcasts in it.
  • Millenium Philcon (2001 Worldcon) finally has distributed the last of its funds and been formally discharged from duty.
  • We took up the Popular Ratification amendment from LonCon3 for voting. This amendment would have put WSFS business up for popular ratification (vote by all members of WSFS, which literally means all members of Worldcon, attending and supporting) after passing two rounds of the Worldcon-based WSFS business meetings.
    • This would have made amending the WSFS constitution a three year process, which I wasn’t wild about, but also had a five year sunset clause, after which it would have required re-ratification.
    • One of the main concerns about this seemed to be the power of mob voting by supporting members, thanks to the ample demonstration by the puppies this year. This is not a fear I’m that convinced about, considering popular ratification doesn’t allow for anything passed by the business meeting to be modified, etc. Just voted up or down. Word case scenario, nothing gets done for five years if the trolls are that dedicated.
    • It should also be noted that anyone has a right to present new business to the WSFS meeting, whether they are in attendance or not.
    • Kevin Standlee made the point that it’s time for supporting members to get treated like actual members. I tend to agree with this.
    • This would also have been, in my opinion, an important measure for keeping the WORLD in WorldCon; it would have given power to people remotely and internationally. There are plenty of reasons people can’t make it to the WSFS meeting even if they attend WorldCon; there are many more people who would like to participate in the community who are continually blocked by the stranglehold that America holds on the convention.
      • ETA: Point well-made to me by David Clements just now. One problem that does need to be considered is the language barrier. Having voting on resolutions available is not really inclusive if people can’t understand what they’re being asked to vote on. Even a “plain language” explanation of an amendment would be American English. So this is something that needs to be addressed by another attempt at this kind of proposal.
    • Also, one would hope that this would encourage broader involvement by making voting more accessible. The harder you make participation, the fewer people participate. We see that again and again. Make it easier, you’ll get more people who will become interested and get involved.
  • But anyway, you’ll note that all this is in past tense, because Popular Ratification got voted down in the business meeting, 69 for to 99 against. Which I am, as you might imagine, very unhappy about.
  • The open source software resolution failed after a lot of linguistic nitpicking.

What I’m most disappointed about is the failure of the Popular Ratification. I also really, really didn’t like a sort of implied insult to all non-attending voters; people brought up again and again that these resolutions were just too complicated, etc. People just wouldn’t care. While I admit there’s an argument to be made there (please see voter ennui in the US) the implication that no one could possibly care of understand what’s going on at the business meeting so it’s okay to exclude them is pretty upsetting to me. Particularly because if we want to continue to pretend we are an internationally-minded body, it behooves us to make the proceedings accessible internationally. And not just to people rich enough to attend.

Final note: Even the Worldcon chair acknowledges I am dapper as fuck. Thank you.

2 thoughts on “Brief(?) Summary and Commentary on Thursday and Friday WSFS Meetings

  1. Reply Tim Illingworth Aug 21,2015 23:40

    So was there any specific that converted you to EPH?

  2. Pingback: Brief(?) Summary and Commentary on Saturday and Sunday WSFS Meetings ← Rachael Acks: Sound and Nerdery

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