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As before, here I’m going to be free with my commentary instead of limiting myself to mostly parenthetical statements. Amendments will be referred to by name. For details and summary, please see the Sasquan agenda.

Liveblog for Saturday here.

Liveblog for Sunday here.

Playlist for all segments of the business meeting here.

Saturday Meeting

This meeting was relatively short, because the room was needed for other programming at 1300, and plus they wanted to have the WorldCon chairs photo session. Important points:

  • The meeting started off with the official site selection for 2017. Helsinki won, and presented the con heads and their website. They received a check for $23,000, passed on from the last of Millenium Phillcon’s funds.
  • The “Story by Any Other Name” amendment from LonCon 3 was passed and added to constitution. This will close the audiobook loophole, for example, allowing stories that originally appeared as audiobooks to be considered with their fellow works of fiction instead of as podcasts or related works.
  • “WSFS Membership Types and Rates” amendment from LonCon 3 passed without objection and was added to the constitution.
  • “Hugo Finalist” amendment from LonCon 3 passed without objection and was added to the constitution. This was just a word term change.
  • Starting on new business for this year–this is stuff that if passed will go on to be ratified (or not) next year in Kansas City. This is where things started getting contentious.
  • The 5% Solution passed. (Thank fuck.)
  • The Multiple Nominations amendment passed.
  • Nominee Diversity was laid on the table to be taken up on Sunday after EPH was considered.
  • Tom Monaghan (apologies, I believe I have been spelling his last name wrong this entire time in my liveblogs, mea culpa) attempted to permanently adjourn the business meeting for this year and thus kill all remaining business. I found this personally very aggravating, as it seemed to be a very transparent attempt to get rid of all potential discussion and fixes with regards to the Hugo issues. Monaghan had already made it pretty clear to anyone who could overhear him arguing that he was a “puppy” of some stripe, including complaints about people defaming puppies in debate, which were for the most part not supported by the chair. The motion was ultimately disallowed due to arcane parliamentary stuff, but I think that it would have failed anyway if put to a vote.
  • The meeting ended with a motion, unanimously approved, that when the business meeting did finally adjourn on Sunday, it would be in memory of Bobbie DuFault and Peggy Rae Sapienza.

Sunday Meeting

This is where things got really contentious.

  • E Pluribus Hugo was taken up immediately via suspension of the rules. Passed via serpentine.
    • Ramez Naam, who is a writer, made the point beautifully about why slates are pieces of shit (my words, not his) by naming a sampling of works and authors who got screwed by the slates this year.
    • The point was made again and again that it’s total bullshit that 10-15% of the electorate can entirely control who shows up on the ballot.
    • Dara Korra’ti (I hope I spelled her name right) made the point beautifully across EPH and 4/6 that in a system without parties, an organized party will prevail. And she had every right to indicate that this was political because it’s been made so explicitly political by the people who started it.
    • A lot of people complained that EPH is complicated and that will alter how people vote. Considering it is about how nominations are counted, not indicated by members, I don’t really buy this argument. Also, the current system is complex in its own right as well. If you asked me to explain preferential voting to someone, I don’t think I’d be able to do a good job of it.
    • Anyway, I’m glad EPH passed. What I’m really hoping is that once they’ve got the nomination data they requested, we’ll get a good presentation about how it would have changed things this year, and we can move forward.
    • Also a point to consider: anything we voted affirmatively on this year is not yet part of the constitution. Nothing changes unless and until these are ratified next year. So by the time we take up this business at next year’s meeting, we’ll be well aware if the Hugos are once more covered with puppy shit.
    • I still believe that if EPH stops Doctor Who from dominating short form drama, that is a feature and not a bug.
    • EPH has a built-in five year sunset clause by amendment.
  • 4 and 6 also passed on a serpentine vote. This one made me kind of crazy because we spent a ridiculous amount of time noodling about if we’d use the numbers 4 and 6 or something different, and then just used 4 and 6 anyway. Much like how 90% of the time we just use the chair’s suggested debate time after 10 minutes of arguing about allowing more or less. Hrngh.
    • So noted that supposedly, this system can work in conjunction with EPH just fine. Though in my opinion, if we were to ratify EPH next year, I’ll feel a lot less compelled to ratify this one as well unless someone makes a compelling argument as to the contrary.
    • Just another shout-out to Dara, whose points on this as far as 4 and 6 doing nothing to discourage slating, were totally on point. This method could defeat one slate if it didn’t have great discipline. But if we start getting in to slates and counter slates (very likely if things continue in this year’s melodramatic style) it’s going to be a fucking mess for anyone who doesn’t want to slate.
    • This one lacks a sunset clause. I think at this point, everyone was getting pretty tired and we just didn’t manage to get the timing right on amending it.
  • Nominee Diversity passes on a serpentine vote. Not much to say here other than I was in favor of it because I’m in favor of anything that spreads the love, so to speak.
  • Best Series, by request of its originator, was moved to a committee, to report back next year. (I think he realized that everyone was getting very tired and cranky and things were not looking that friendly for a contentious subject.)
  • Electronic Signatures returned with new language from the committee. This then became a giant clusterfuck that took 30 minutes to resolve and I still don’t know why. Eventually, this too passed. It should be noted that this allows the use of electronic signatures but the means are at the discretion of the WorldCon.
  • Meeting was then adjourned in memory of Bobbie DuFault and Peggy Rae Sapienza.

PLEASE NOTE: I am now going to start going through my previous liveblogs and try to correct some name misspellings. Please bear with me.

I also have some thoughts on the Hugos, and maybe I’ll type those up at some point. But this post is already 1K words long, and my liveblog from today was almost 3K. I’m getting pretty worded out, here.

See you in Kansas City next year, space cowboys.

Originally published at Rachael Acks: Sound and Nerdery. You can comment here or there.

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1334: Freedom indeed. This is Rachael, signing off.

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Originally published at Rachael Acks: Sound and Nerdery. You can comment here or there.

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1153: Meeting is adjourned until 1000 tomorrow.

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Originally published at Rachael Acks: Sound and Nerdery. You can comment here or there.

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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.

Originally published at Rachael Acks: Sound and Nerdery. You can comment here or there.

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As a note, all the business (amendments and motions) I’m talking about can be found here.

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Originally published at Rachael Acks: Sound and Nerdery. You can comment here or there.


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Tetsugawa Katsuhiro

September 2017

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