T-minus one week till the WSFS business meeting 5

I hope you kids are warming up your serpentine muscles AW YISS.

@ForestofGlory on Twitter asked me what I thought about a few of the items on the WSFS agenda this year, and I realized that due diligence means I really ought to look at all the upcoming items before I get to the meeting so I can start thinking about them. There are some big items coming up, such as changes to membership rights–if you are at WorldCon, it’s extremely important for you to attend the business meetings if you care about how the con is run.

For information on where the meetings will be held and the schedule, click this helpful link.

So let’s take a look at the WSFS agenda for this year! I’ll try to keep each of these brief.

Under Business Passed On–this means something we approved at a previous WSFS business meeting, which now must be ratified to go into the constitution.

A1 – Best Fancast: Do we want to keep best fancast? Selfishly, as someone on a podcast, I’m inclined to like this category.

A2 – The Five Percent Solution: This was the amendment to get rid of the motherfucking 5% nomination requirement for the short story category that’s prevented us from having a full category in years past. I want this thing to pass so hard I can taste it.

A3 – Multiple Nominations: Prevents a work from appearing in multiple categories. I kind of felt it was fixing a problem that didn’t really exist before, but I also don’t have a problem with it. It seems like generally good practice.

A4 – Nominee Diversity: This keeps a single author or single television show from dominating an entire category. I’m rather in favor of this because I’ve found the best dramatic short form category effectively being “Best Doctor Who” incredibly annoying in the past–and not reflective of the breadth of the options we have as scifi fans these days. Voted for it before, am likely to vote for it again unless someone can give me a very compelling argument otherwise.

A5 – Electronic Signature: Will allow electronic signature at the discretion of the administering WorldCon for site bid ballots. I get the impression this would help with the administration, but more importantly, it should allow more people to vote in site selection. I think this is incredibly important, particularly since I’ve been a strong proponent of putting the World back into WorldCon and seeing more non-US cons, even if that means I don’t get to attend as often.

A7 – E Pluribus Hugo: One of the more bitterly contested items from last year’s agenda, this was intended to help ameliorate the rabid puppy bullshit that keeps occurring because a man whose initials are the same as that of a nasty lung disease just needs to get his ego stroked. Unfortunately, it looks like this statistical system wouldn’t really have made that much of a difference in the category shake-out this year, so I’m not sure if we should be ratifying something that doesn’t work properly or well. I’m figuring the EPH folks will have a good presentation for us again this year, so I will be holding judgment until I hear what they have to say at the business meeting.

A6 – 4 and 6: This is another anti-slate measure, which would expand categories to six nominees and only allow four nominations per voter. I’m still pretty on board with this, though again, willing to listen to arguments. I’m aware that as fixes go, it’ll just make slates require marginally more organization, but it’s also something that’s definitely not going to do any harm if placed in the constitution.

Under New Business for this year–we’ll see how much of this even makes it to the main business meetings. Seriously, guys, come to the preliminary meeting on Thursday if you can. It’s super important, and it’s a place where amendments can get killed without ever making it to debate. It gets pretty wild.

B21 – Best Series: Oh, this thing is back again. Sigh. A proposal to add a Best Series Hugo Category, though at least this year they’re not proposing to kill one of the short fiction categories in favor of the Most Onerous category. I probably sound saltier about this than is warranted because if this category did exist, at this point, it would not do any harm to anything I care about. It’s just not a category I ever have an interest in voting in, and I think it’s pretty ridiculous to want to dump entire series into the Hugo reading list–which is already quite large–as well. I am also really not liking the provision that a series can be nominated for this category multiple times if it just gets 240K words longer. (There have been some good extremely long-running series. Most of them, in my opinion, are not so good.) I’m still not convinced that there’s a solid reason for this category–books that aren’t the first in a series can and do get nominated for best novel all the time.

B22 – December is Good Enough: This would move back the cutoff for when you have to have your membership by in order to nominate for the Hugos. The argument is that it will ease a little of the administrative burden by letting the membership data get sorted out for PINs and the like a month earlier. In general, I think that’s a fair request, though I am open to arguments to the contrary and I’m curious what’s going to be said about this at the meeting.

B23 – Two Years Are Enough: As of right now, members of the current WorldCon (N), the previous WorldCon (N-1), and the next Worldcon (N+1) can all nominate. This would remove the ability of people who have bought memberships for the N+1 WorldCon to nominate. While I get this would remove a major administrative burden, I’m don’t really know if I am on board with this. Arguably, this measure (and the next) could potentially hurt the rabid puppy efforts by requiring that shitcocks who just want to logroll the Hugos to stick it to an imaginary enemy will at least have to buy a fresh membership every year. But I’m not really looking to screw over a lot of potential Hugo nominators and voters just to try to stick it to the nihilists. I think expanding the vote has been something that’s let a lot more people get involved in the Hugos–and invested in them–and helps minimize the cost to allow more people to participate by providing a lot of bang for the membership buck.

B231 – This Year’s Awards, This Year’s Nominators: An even stronger version of the above that would remove the N-1 WorldCon members from the voting and nominating pool. I’m even less in favor of this. This is not a “slight” raising of the bar, particularly for people who find the cost of a WorldCon membership onerous. The expanded voting rights have been in place as long as I’ve been attending WorldCons, and I’m really not wanting to see it go away. I think it makes WorldCon and the Hugos more accessible to more fans, which is of ultimate benefit to the genre.

B24 – Three Stage Voting or “The Only Winning Move Is Not to Play”: An anti-slate measure that would turn the nomination process into a three stage endeavor. Stage 1 would be nominations as normal, stage 2 would be an accept or reject vote on the top 15 nominees, stage 3 would be voting as normal. I think this one has a lot of potential, even if adding a middle stage to the process sounds like it might be a serious headache for the administrators. Though I also wonder if there’d be an issue with people just “reject” voting everything they don’t like so that almost nothing makes it through. I think they make a good point that this is really a way to move the “no award” step of the process to an earlier stage, but I wonder about the potential for abusing the system in a different way from our current one. It would also depend on how many people could be bothered to vote in this middle round. Honestly, if there is a solid argument for this one, I’d rather have it than EPH or EPH+. I don’t want to cause the volunteer administrators to melt.

B25 – Additional Finalists: This one would empower the WorldCon Committee to add up to two additional finalists in a category at their discretion, similar to how the constitution already allows them to add an entire additional one-shot category at their discretion. This would work with Three Stage Voting, allowing the Committee to add finalists if they think it’s in the best interests of the membership to do so. This, rather than removing nominees/finalists as they have been called to do as a result of all the slating nonsense. In the context of three stage voting, I think this is inoffensive.

B26 – EPH+: A modification of the original EPH. Would supposedly work with Three Stage Voting as well, though I’m not sure if that’s a fair burden to place on the administrators at this point, considering they’re volunteers. I would really need to do a deep dive into the arguments to decide how I feel, and I’m going to save that for the business meeting.

B28 – Retrospective Improvement: This would change the language to allow retrospective Hugos to be awarded for 1942-1945, as well as some other nitpicky improvements. I don’t really care about the Retrospective Hugos, to be honest, and don’t see anything wrong with this.

B29 – Universal Suffrage: This requires that all adult memberships come with full voting rights. This hasn’t been a problem before now, but I don’t think there’s harm in making it clear for the future.

B210 – Non-transferability of Voting Rights: This would basically alter WorldCon membership so that supporting memberships (with all the attendant voting rights) cannot be transferred, but attendance at WorldCon would become a supplement to that supporting membership that could be transferred. This would link voting rights specifically to having that supporting membership. (Which you can then upgrade or not.) I can see the administrative reasons for this, certainly. And I also get the philosophy behind making the membership about being a member of WSFS and having voting rights, with WorldCon itself kind of being icing on the cake. But I have concerns how this could effect low-income people who would like to be members.

B211 – Young Adult Award: This brings back the Young Adult Hugo, but takes it into the Not-a-Hugo territory like the Campbell. This gets around the need to explicitly define what YA is. I’ve been cheering for the YA Hugo, and I’m happy to take it as a the YA Not-a-Hugo. Here’s hoping we can finally get this one passed.

5 thoughts on “T-minus one week till the WSFS business meeting

  1. Reply Tim Illingworth Aug 11,2016 07:02

    Did you leave B.2.7 Short Title: Defining North America out by accident, or because it doesn’t really change anything?

    • Reply Rachael Aug 11,2016 08:45

      Yeah, since it was a nitpicking and flyspecking thing, I didn’t feel the need to include it. Hopefully I didn’t just miss out on one of this year’s hottest controversies. ;)

  2. Reply David Goldfarb Aug 11,2016 23:17

    EPH is deliberately designed not to put much extra burden on the administrators. It means they have to use software to determine the nominations, but they were doing that anyway.

    It’s true that EPH doesn’t help as much as people hoped it would, but with the current system, we had the Puppies sweeping Best Novelette, and with EPH we would have had 3 Puppy nominees and 2 organic ones. Surely that’s an improvement?

    EPH+ adds no more burden than EPH does. It’s a tweak to the software.

  3. Pingback: [WorldCon] WSFS Main Business Meeting #1 Summary ← Rachael Acks: Sound and Nerdery

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