kevin_standlee: (Business Meeting)
Expect to see something from me in the next few days about how I plan to handle a proposal coming before this year's WSFS Business Meeting. No, I'm not saying anything else today, because I'm too tired to write about it tonight.
kevin_standlee: (Business Meeting)
I note that when the Vice President had to use his casting vote in the US Senate today to confirm a Secretary of Education who I don't think in her heart believes in the concept of universal public education, there was someone standing there with a cue card for him. My guess is that the VP knows so little about this "presiding officer" stuff that the Senate Parliamentarian had to write it all out for him to read off a card.

As WSFS Chair, I don't have a "casting vote" (that is, can only vote to break a tie), but the more subtle "can vote whenever it could affect the result," because I'm a member of the organization, not just its presiding officer. (The US VP is the nominal presiding officer of the Senate, but is not actually a member of it.) This means that I can vote to break or make ties. (Ties lose.) I could also vote if it would affect various sorts of super-majorities like 2/3 or 3/4.

In the years that I've presided over WSFS meetings, I'm trying to remember if I have ever been in a position to use my vote. I think it may have happened once, and in the particular case, I think I elected to not vote and to allow the vote to stand as it was. I have a feeling that if I ever vote to make a tie (and thus defeat a motion), there will be a lot of confused people who think the Chair only votes to break ties because that's what "sandlot parliamentary procedure" says.
kevin_standlee: (Gavel of WSFS)
Notwithstanding that I've been the instigator of more than one floor fight at WSFS on procedural issues, I actually would prefer to avoid them whenever possible. We have so little time for substantive in-person debate during the few hours of the WSFS Business Meeting that I'd like to reserve more of it for discussion of substantive issues. And I've been known to avoid such issues myself.

An Example of Evading the Issue )

As I said in a comment to my discussion of the YA Hugo Name issue, I've decided that what the KC Business Meeting did was attempt to write a blank check to the following year's Business Meeting, in contravention of a constitutional provision. Even had the KC meeting adopted the proposal unanimously (which it did not), blank checks are not permitted, because without a specific provision otherwise, you cannot suspend your own constitution.
kevin_standlee: (Business Meeting)
Edit, April 23, 2017: I have changed my mind about the ruling below and now intend to rule that if the meeting first ratifies the proposal with the blank in the name and with the temporary provision, any WSFS Business Meeting (including the one in Helsinki) can name the YA Award in a single year's vote, but that once named, any change would require the usual two-year constitutional amendment process.




One of the items that has been forwarded to Worldcon 75 Helsinki for ratification is the Young Adult Award proposal, which adds a WSFS-sanctioned "Campbell-like" non-Hugo Award to the awards that would appear on the Hugo Award ballot. If ratified, the first Worldcon that would present this award is Worldcon 76 San José in 2018. The name of this award (which is not a Hugo Award) was left blank. There have been many electrons spilled over whether actually naming the award would be a "greater change" to the proposal, and thus require an additional year of ratification. As Chair of the 2017 WSFS Business Meeting, it will fall to me to make the initial ruling on whether such a change is a "greater change."

I currently intend to rule that filling the blank in the proposal increases the scope of change of the proposal, and therefore would require an additional year of ratification.

Further Discussion of the reasoning )

Of course, the Helsinki Business Meeting could overturn my ruling, but now you have some idea of how I stand on the subject and can plan accordingly.
kevin_standlee: (Gavel of WSFS)
Thanks to the stellar work of [livejournal.com profile] lindadee in slogging through 145 pages of minutes, and [livejournal.com profile] cherylmmorgan in getting the wsfs.org web site set up so that it's much easier to update than it used to be, I'm pleased to announce that the WSFS Constitution/Rules Page is now updated with the versions of the official papers current as of August 22, 2016, effective as of the end of the 2016 Worldcon, MidAmeriCon II. That includes the current WSFS Constitution, Standing Rules (there were no changes passed to them this year), Resolutions and Rulings of Continuing Effect, the Minutes themselves (a new record for length, breaking last year's record, ouch), and the Business Passed on to next year's Worldcon, which forms the nucleus of the 2017 WSFS Business Meeting Agenda.

It is my hope that from now on, we'll be able to keep this page current, and Worldcons won't have to keep "local" copies of the Official Papers on their own web sites, but will instead be able to point to the WSFS site for the WSFS documents. (The individual convention's site will of course continue to have information about the specifics of that Worldcon's meeting arrangements, but will no longer have to host the rules.) This should lead to WSFS.org being the one-stop-shop for questions about what the organization's rules are. Also, as we find them, we will add documents from past Worldcons and build up the historical archive.

Based on some of the feedback (essentially people wondering why the page wasn't updated the day after Worldcon ended), I anticipate that in the future, as soon as Worldcon is over, the documents from the just-ended year will move to the Archives, and the "Current Year" page will have no documents linked, but will more prominently say something like "The documents as of the end of [Worldcon N/Year] will be published here as soon as they are available."
kevin_standlee: (Gavel of WSFS)
Something that triggered a lot of discussion, both at this past WSFS Business Meeting and afterwards, was the concept of "lesser changes." Although those of us who have attended a bunch of WSFS meetings understand the concept, I think, it's clear from the discussion that people who are new to the process do not, and some of the questions I've fielded over the past few weeks suggest to me that I need to go into this in more detail.

Cut for Those Allergic to Parliamentary Procedure )

The arguments about what constitutes a so-called "lesser change" (that is, what sort of changes to a pending Constitutional amendment do not increase the scope of change) have become so difficult that there have been some serious suggestions that we abandon the concept entirely and simply require the ratification to be an up-or-down vote, with no amendments allowed; or that any changes to an amendment pending ratification require an additional year of ratification. As next year's presiding officer, I won't take any position on such proposals, of course, but I will as usual help people construct such proposals and in fact have already done so. Whether such proposals make it to the floor next year is an open question.
kevin_standlee: (Gavel of WSFS)
Higher-resolution video recordings of the 2016 WSFS Business Meeting are now online at the Worldcon Events Channel:



Software to generate the higher-resolution video was provided by Wizards Tower Press.

The initial video uploads of the 2016 WSFS Business Meeting were in a relatively low-resolution video format and in roughly ten minute segments for technical reasons I will explain below. The ability to get the low-res-but-fast video is thanks to a grant from Detcon 1 to pay for the "proxy card" for the camera and for a grant from SFSFC to pay for the necessary bandwidth on the Kansas City Convention Center's wi-fi network.

Technical Background )

The higher-quality video files are in 3 to 4 segments per day. Each segment runs "gavel to gavel," that is, from call to order to first recess, then from reconvening to next recess, and so forth until the adjournment of that day's meeting. The breaks are thus "natural" rather than the abrupt cuts in the lower-quality "proxy" files.

I swear that it's only a coincidence that the thumbnail image is of me speaking.
kevin_standlee: (Gavel of WSFS)
I love Worldcon, I really do. But with a couple of exceptions, by the time we get to Day 5, I've had about all I can take and I'm ready to wrap it up. This year was one of those years.

Closing Time )

The final meeting did the following things:
  • Gave first passage to "3 Stage Voting," which, if ratified at Helsinki next year, will oblige San José and future Worldcons to include an additional Qualifying Round after the initial nominations, where the members of the current Worldcon only (not the previous/following years' members) will vote to accept or reject each of the top 15 nominees

  • Ratified "E Pluribus Hugo", the attempt to deal with slate voting tactics with voting mathematics. This becomes part of the WSFS Constitution and first affects next year's Worldcon.

  • Ratified "5 & 6" (originally 4 & 6), a proposal that originally would have limited voters to four (changed to five just before the final vote) nominations per category and expending the number of finalist positions on the ballot from five to six. The amendment to change "4" to "5" was a "lesser change" (and thus the proposal doesn't need to be re-ratified) because the current Constitution is effectively 5 & 5 and thus anything between or including the proposed new values of 4 & 6 and the original values would be a lesser change

  • Gave first passage to "EPH+", a "patch job" on the original proposal ratified today intended to improve its behavior based on how historical data behaved when run through the original model.


The items given first passage move on to Helsinki for adoption. As one of the co-sponsors of 3 Stage Voting, I'll have to recuse myself from presiding over it.



The Sunday Business Meeting videos (16 segments of roughly ten minutes each) start with this one.

The Business Meeting adjourned sine die about 12:45.

But Wait, There's More! )

As the MPC met, the Tech Team started tearing down all of the audio-visual tech. Lisa packed up the video camera. All that was left was my computers, as I couldn't do video uploads while running the MPC meeting. As quickly as I could, I finished the uploads (that's why Part 13 was initially private and part 15 was initially mislabeled), tore down the computers, and took them back to the hotel.

Stowing our gear in the minivan, we returned to the convention center as fast as our abused feet could carry us, claimed our groats (volunteer vouchers), and dashed off to redeem them for lunch at the convention food services. Except that the only one left was the hamburger stand, which was out of burgers and hot dogs and had only a few weak sandwiches. The pizza and BBQ stands were done. We redeemed the vouchers for what we could get — we had to eat now! — and made the best of it.

Tearing It Down )

I took a bunch more photos, and would like to write about them, but it's late and we're checking out in the morning to start driving west. If time permits tomorrow, I'll write the postscript of the post-closing ceremony part of the final day of the 2016 Worldcon.

I am knackered. Lisa and I spent six hours a day, four of the days of Worldcon, and then put in a full day (and full evening into late night) each day. It's no wonder that we wish we had scheduled an extra day here in Kansas City just to sleep.
kevin_standlee: (Hugo Trophy)
The WSFS Business Meeting ran the full three hours scheduled, and would have run longer if possible.

Getting Ready to Argue Hugo Rules )

We adjourned for the day just before 1 PM, leaving a whole lot of stuff left to argue on Sunday. For the second year in a row, we have a Sunday Business Meeting. After the 1 PM adjournment we rearranged the room for the Worldcon Chairs Photo Shoot.



Lisa video taped the chairs after the still photos were taken. I'll post still photos to Flickr later.

After getting the Business Meeting videos uploaded and the gear packed, we locked up the room, trudged to the hotel, stored our gear, then went back to the convention center to have lunch and spend the roughly three hours we had "free" today.

In The Exhibit Hall )

After a too-short time in the convention hall, I went back to the hotel while Lisa stayed with her friend [livejournal.com profile] pcornelius. Knowing that I would get no dinner tonight, I grabbed a pulled pork sandwich from the food trucks lined up outside the convention center and inhaled it while getting dressed for the Hugo Awards Ceremony. I then returned to the Convention Center and the Grand Ballroom Pat Cadigan Theatre.

Stressful Hugo Awards Coverage )

I'd really like to write more including an analysis of the Hugo Awards results, but I'm exhausted and have to be up again at 6 AM for the fourth and final WSFS Business Meeting, plus a WSFS MPC meeting after that. I sort of wish we were staying Monday night as well as Sunday because then we could sleep in Monday morning rather than having to push on toward home.
kevin_standlee: (WSFS Logo)
Today was the First Main WSFS Business Meeting. Whereas yesterday was about arguing over debate time limits and trying to kill unpopular proposals, today's meeting was substantive business.

The View from the Videography Desk )

I thought today's meeting went much more smoothly than yesterday, although that is in part the nature of the Preliminary versus the Main Business Meeting.

Business Summary )

The first of Friday's WSFS Business Meeting videos was online about halfway through the meeting. The last posted perhaps 30 minutes or so after adjournment.

Later that afternoon I got e-mail from Jared Dashoff asking me to get the room locked up. I wrote back that I'd do so once I got back from lunch, which was off-site, and is another story.
kevin_standlee: (WSFS Crew)
Today was, relatively speaking, the least-scheduled of our five days of Worldcon. After the CanSMOF Board Meeting, I came back to the room, and instead of my WSFS Captain's uniform, got into my Colonel Chinstrap outfit, and Lisa and [livejournal.com profile] travelswithkuma (Lt. Hayes and Pvt. Bear) and I set forth as the Imperial Airship Corps command team. Regrettably, I forgot to get anyone to take a picture of the three of us with my camera, although many other people did take our pictures. It was very entertaining. Lisa had a telegraph key strapped to her wrist that would make click-clack sounds from the relay on her belt, so she would send dispatches from the Colonel. Maybe we'll have a chance to get dressed up again sometime this weekend.

Opening Day )

After the Opening Ceremonies, the WSFS Mark Protection Committee had a short meeting to confirm that there was nothing more than what is in our written report that we submitted to the Business Meeting. Linda Deneroff and I then went and found Lisa and we headed off to dinner, and ran into Andrew Adams and Emeeli Aro who were also looking for dinner. We set out to use the free streetcar to take us uptown, where we ate at the Homestead Cafe. I had a nice blackened catfish. It's nice to get out for dinner. I'll be surprised if we do that very often. We walked back to the hotels and convention center.

Wednesday Night in the Fan Fair )

Earlier than we would have liked, we headed back to the hotel. Lisa and I got an early look at the room where the Business Meeting will be held, but the tech setup will not start until tomorrow morning. We have to be over there at 8 AM to get set up for a 10 AM start. Other days may be easier, but Thursday is likely to be a little frantic. And we're not the only people working hard on this. I left Business Meeting Chair Jared Dashoff and Secretary Linda Deneroff dealing with the copying of hundreds of copies of WSFS agendas. Everyone is working hard to make this event a success.
kevin_standlee: (Business Meeting)
Wizard's Tower Press is sponsoring the software needed to convert the higher-quality WSFS Business Meeting videos to a usable (i.e. YouTube-compatible) format. The ability to get the lower-quality-but-much-easier-to-upload proxy files was underwritten by a grant from Detcon II, the 2014 NASFiC in Detroit, for which we give our continued thanks.

In order to get my head around how to make Adobe Premiere work, earlier this month I started working on converting the 2015 Business Meeting video for Saturday's meeting to one continuous file in the higher quality format. I got that done, but the file is huge, and my home internet upload speed is such that it would have taken all day and all night to upload the files. However, the hotel in which I'm staying tonight has very good wired internet connectivity with a sufficiently high speed that I could actually upload the file. Therefore: presented for your amusement is the 2015 WSFS Business Meeting Saturday (Site Selection) Business Meeting recorded in Spokane.

During MidAmeriCon II, the plan is for me to upload the lower-resolution "proxy" files as soon as they come off the camera. (These are maximum 20 minute segments, and upload relatively quickly). As time permits (and I have a second computer for this purpose), I will also take the camera's native MXF format files and convert them to higher-quality video and upload those files when I can.

Note that the audio on both files is the same. It's only the video quality that is different. If you are curious about the difference, have a look at the files in the following two YouTube playlists:

2015 WSFS Business Meeting (Lower Quality): These are the lower-quality "proxy" files uploaded as individual segments relatively quickly. Many of these files were online while the later parts of the same meeting were still happening.

2015 WSFS Business Meeting (Higher Quality): These are higher-quality video files generated from the camera's native MXF format files. [livejournal.com profile] pcornelius did the first two days during Sasquan, but we didn't get the other two days done while in Spokane, and uploading the resulting files is cumbersome due to their size.

When my time permits (probably sometime later this year), I plan to finally convert the 2015 Sunday meeting and upload it when I get access to sufficient bandwidth to do so.
kevin_standlee: (Gavel of WSFS)
As I wrote a while back, I think the second part of the pending WSFS Constitutional Amendment "The Five Percent Solution" was added by mistake. (My fault, too; I composed it!) It was not intended to change the floor value for including works in the Section 3.11.4 "They Also Ran" long list. It was intended only to remove the minimum percentage of nominating votes necessary to make the short list.

I intend to move during the Main Business Meeting (it can't be done during the Preliminary Meeting because it's a pending ratification) to strike out the second section of the amendment. That has the affect of leaving Section 3.11.4 unchanged. (When you strike out a strike-out, you leave the original text unchanged; this can get confusing, which is why we try to avoid doing it.) I think that this is a lesser change because it would leave the WSFS Constitution in a state closer to its current form than the pending ratification contemplates.

I need at least one MidAmeriCon II member to second this motion. It's not a new constitutional amendment, but an amendment to the ratification of a pending proposal. If at least one person puts up their hand today (the deadline for submitting business), I'll submit it as a foreshadowed amendment in order to (I hope) get it on the agenda in advance. Otherwise, I'll make the motion from the floor on the day and hope for a second there.

If you want to second this amendment, comment here or e-mail me or send me a LiveJournal message.

Update, 11:00 PT: Three co-sponsors have appeared from various sources. Thank you!
kevin_standlee: (WSFS Logo)
Worldcon starts two weeks from today. 13 days from now, Lisa and I are scheduled to arrive in Kansas City after a cross-country drive starting the previous Thursday afternoon.

Deadlines are looming, or overdue in some cases. However, in a few hours we can stop looking for new WSFS Business Meeting items, for that deadline will have passed, and given how many things have already been submitted, I doubt there will be any stomach for allowing any late submissions to make the agenda.
kevin_standlee: (Hugo Logo)
I anticipate that Lisa will want me to submit the Additional Finalists proposal to MidAmeriCon II soon, once she's had a chance to make a final review of it, which (now that I'm home for this week) might be as early as today. If you have further comments or want to be listed as a co-sponsor, now is the last chance to speak up before the Business Meeting this year.
kevin_standlee: (Hugo Logo)
Colin Harris has been leading a group of which I am a member to work out details of several different Hugo Award-related proposals, including the "3-Stage Voting" proposal I discussed here some time ago. The proposal are now at the final stage and he has posted the proposals in a publicly-available Google Document for people to see, prior to their formal presentation to the Business Meeting in a few days.

Note that I'm listed as a co-sponsor for Three Stage Voting (3SV), or “The Only Winning Move is Not to Play.” This means that should 3SV pass this year in Kansas City, I will be recusing myself from presiding over the ratification vote next year in Helsinki.

I have also co-sponsored an amendment to the pending E Pluribus Hugo proposal that would require it to be re-ratified every year between now and 2022. This will not require me to recuse myself from any future votes, inasmuch as EPH is up for ratification this year. It only changes the requirement for it to remain a part of the constitution from a single vote five years from now to annual votes each year between now and 2022. In effect, it would allow the Business Meeting to repeal EPH on a single vote instead of two consecutive years.

There are other proposals in the package that Colin has posted on which I consulted as a parliamentary authority, but which I am not co-sponsoring. This should not be interpreted as me either favoring or opposing those proposals.
kevin_standlee: (Gavel of WSFS)
I have decided that the pending WSFS Constitutional amendment "The Five Percent Solution" (item A.2 in the 2016 WSFS Business Meeting Agenda goes farther than it should have done. The ostensible reason for the amendment is to remove the rule that requires that the fourth and fifth-place finalists in each Hugo Award category draw at least 5% of the nominations in that category. That part is fine and is dealt with by the first clause, which strikes out section 3.8.5. However, the second clause strikes out wording about "five percent" in section 3.11.4. That section is the requirement that the Committee publish a list of every nominee in the top 15 positions or with at least 5% of the nominations in that category, as long as the nominee got at least 5 nominations.

I don't think that the second section has any actual connection to the first, and is beyond the intended scope of the original change. I therefore intend to move, at the Preliminary Business Meeting this year, to strike out the second clause, which means to retain all of the words in section 3.11.4 and to limit the scope of the amendment to only removing the minimum of 5% to make the final ballot.

This is in my opinion a lesser change (because it reduces the scope of the change), and therefore if my proposed change is adopted by the Preliminary Meeting, the Main Meeting could adopt the modified proposal this year without it having to lay over for another year.

I'm willing to put my name to this because it would not oblige me to recuse myself from business next year in Helsinki. Any proposal on this year's agenda as new business that has my name on it that gets first passage this year and thus is passed on to Worldcon 75 necessarily requires me to recuse myself from presiding over its ratification.

ETA: [livejournal.com profile] timill catches me napping on the Standing Rules; thus the strikeouts above. Sigh.
kevin_standlee: (Business Meeting)
Westercon 71 will be in Westminster, Colorado (Denver Area) at the Westin Westminster on July 4-8, 2018. Their unopposed bid received all but four of the votes cast in the election at Westercon 69 in Portland this weekend.

Because the results of site selection balloting were conclusive, there is no need for a Site Selection Business Meeting. I will therefore not exercise the "call" authorized by this morning's Business Meeting, and the Meeting can be considered to have adjourned sine die.
kevin_standlee: (Camera Kuma)
Here is the low-resolution video of the Westercon 69 Business Meeting. This is what's generated by the video camera's "proxy card" for immediate use, as opposed to the high-resolution native MXF files that require substantial post processing to make into a form I can upload to YouTube.



Technical Issues with the MXF Format )

As we did last year, we intend to upload the low-resolution files (like this one) of the Worldcon Business Meeting as each segment is complete. If we ever have time (and it takes a lot of time), we will generate higher-resolution files later.

The audio quality is the same in all versions of the file. Only the video quality is lower in these proxy files. Lisa went to a lot of effort to bring the whole tech kit down to the Ross Island Room (which had no sound gear of its own) so that we would have a microphone in the room. You can hear the difference between what talking into the microphone versus not is in this video. All of the other sound you hear other than people talking into microphones is what the camera's inboard mic was able to pick up.
kevin_standlee: (Business Meeting)
The Westercon 69 Business Meeting this morning ran from 11:10 to 11:16 AM. The proposal to reduce the quorum from 15 to 10 members passed on from last year's meeting was ratified and first affects next year's meeting. There was no other business introduced this year.

Should Site Selection results be conclusive, the results will be published in the convention newsletter and there will be no Site Selection Business Meeting. Should it be necessary to hold a Site Selection Business Meeting, it will be sometime on Sunday at at time and place to be announced in the convention newsletter and elsewhere around the convention. (Personally, I don't expect this to be necessary.

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