kevin_standlee: (FinnCon)
Today was the longest day. We got up about 7:30 AM on Thursday, August 3 in Millbrae and I'm going to bed in Hamburg around 7:30 PM on Friday, August 4 (about 10:30 AM Pacific Time) with no intervening sleep. But while there were negatives (like not getting any sleep), it was otherwise a pretty good trip, and we're now safely in Hamburg for our "flying visit."

SFO Security Theatre )

The Alaska flight up to PDX was no fun at all. Fully loaded, and I was in the middle seat. But it was less than two hours, and the flight was on time. As we came in, the flight attendant made an announcement for those of us going on the Reykjavik on IcelandAir, noting that there were 17 of us on the plane. As it happens, I only recognized two others besides me who were going to Worldcon: Charlie Jane Anders and Annalee Newitz, who we spoke to briefly in the departure lounge at PDX before the flight boarded.

Upgrade Jackpot )

We landed in Iceland, where we found that the airport is under significant construction, but fortunately, it wasn't raining.

Upgrade Part Two )

While on this last leg of the flight I could have possibly slept, I decided that it would be a bad idea to do so if I wanted to get onto the correct time zone, so I drank coffee to stay awake into Hamburg. We landed at Hamburg and spent a while trying to find a working DB ATM (because they are partners with Bank of America and thus I wouldn't be hit with an extra fee). We got it eventually and unlike the Barcelona trip, the ATM processed the request with no incident. That is good, because as we found, cash is still king here in Germany. Also, my credit card is US-style and doesn't have a PIN, which makes it impossible to use on automated terminals like at the train stations. I was worried that we'd dawdled on our errands, but as it happens, luggage was just starting to roll out when we got to baggage claim. We picked up our bags and cleared customs (a single bored-looking guard), then found our way to the train station.

Training into Hamburg )

When we checked in to the Holiday Inn Express Hamburg, we had a surprise.

That New Hotel Smell )

After getting moved in, doing some unpacking, and confirming that I could raise the wi-fi on my phone and computer, we set out to find some dinner. We knew that we needed to stay awake until early evening in order to have a chance to stave off jet-lag. We headed off a different way than we came, and almost got caught in a rain shower, but fortunately Lisa spotted a model train store, where we popped in until the rain cleared. Unlike Tokyo and Osaka in 2007, where we had to buy an extra piece of luggage to carry all of the gear she bought at the Kato Model Trains factory outlet stores, Lisa restrained herself to a single car: I nice N scale fire truck.

Something Fishy This Way Comes )

It was after 7 PM local time when we got back to the hotel. Lisa got ready for bed as soon as she could. Once I get this posted (which hasn't been proofread well, so I may end up having to make a lot of edits later), I'm going to bed as well. Tomorrow, the included breakfast runs until 11 AM, which is a great thing because it means we don't have to be up early to get fed. We have one day of looking around more of Hamburg before we head for Lübeck and Travemünde.

I'm very tired, but happy to be here.

Casting Off

Aug. 3rd, 2017 08:57 am
kevin_standlee: (FinnCon)
The shuttle to the airport (which picks up right outside of our room) leaves in about an hour. We're about to pack the stuff we don't need on the trip into the back of the minivan and leave the keys with the hotel, which will park the vehicle off-site and bring it back for when we return.

In response to someone who pointed out less expensive parking options: Yes, if we were just parking, we can do better. But we have a 300 mi/500 km drive on both ends of the trip, and knew we needed a hotel night on each end of the trip. Therefore, what we're doing makes more sense to us, because it's not likely we could have had a less-expensive total package (hotel+parking) otherwise. Twenty years ago we might have been up to getting up at midnight, driving 500 km to SFO, then flying 15 hours to Europe, but we're older now (and frankly, better off financially).

If you say, "Why aren't you flying out of Reno," the answer is "We couldn't put together a routing that worked with IcelandAir and using frequent-flyer points to fly home in first class." So we add some inconvenience and expense in some places in return for a nicer flight experience.

I do not expect to be online much until we get to Hamburg sometime tomorrow, and maybe not much even then. After all, we're supposed to be enjoying ourselves on the one day we have in Germany while also trying to adjust to a new time zone, not huddling over a computer.
kevin_standlee: (WSFS Logo)
The traditional gathering of past, present, and future Worldcon chairs will take place at Worldcon 75 in Helsinki at 10:30, during the Site Selection WSFS Business Meeting, in Room 208. (It's possible the actual photo will be taken just outside of Room 208, where I'm told there is a suitable space.)

Saturday's WSFS meeting is in a 4-hour block. (the previous two days are 3 hours.) This means that the Business Meeting will convene on Saturday at 10:00 to take up Site Selection business, which will be the announcement of the official results and the initial presentation from the 2019 Worldcon, followed by Question Time for the 2018 Worldcon. If there is time (and there may not be), there will be a short Question Time for bidders for 2020. We plan to recess then until 11:00 for the Worldcon Chairs Photo Shoot.

Substantive business other than Site Selection will commence when the meeting reconvenes at 11:00, and will run until 13:45 (or sooner if we somehow manage to finish everything, which I doubt). There is a final session scheduled on Sunday from 10:00 to 15:00.

If you are coming to the Business Meeting in Helsinki and have no interest in either Site Selection or the Worldcon Chairs Photo Shoot, you can sleep in an extra hour on Saturday morning.
kevin_standlee: (Default)
Things at Day Jobbe went well this morning (and I did extra stuff on Monday and Tuesday), so I was able to log out at Noon today, and because we'd been doing packing and planning for days, and because we've developed a checklist for securing the house, we managed to get away before 1 PM. We stopped to grab some burgers at Sparks and headed west. That's Lisa's last solid meal until we are air-side tomorrow, because chewing exacerbates her tinnitus and she has to spend time without her white-noise blocker thanks to our oh-so-wonderful TSA and Security Theater. So she's on smoothies until then, and so we stopped at Jamba Juice in Rocklin. Normally I would stop to see my sister, but I did send her a card for her birthday (which is Friday) telling her we'd stop by on our way home, and I really wanted to get down to Millbrae. We made pretty good time, getting to the hotel before 8 PM. Compared to the 40°C weather in Fernley and the hotter-and-stickier temps in the Central Valley, Millbrae was lovely and cool. Lisa and I luxuriated in the comfortable weather.

I nipped out and got Lisa another smoothie for her dinner, then got myself something more solid while she took a bath. By the time I was back, she was already asleep.

The hotel we're staying in is on a "park and fly" deal. Because we're staying here on the night we get back to SFO, parking for the entire time we're gone is included. In effect, we're paying $20/day for long-term parking with two hotel nights included.

Tomorrow is likely to be the worst day of the trip, because it's flights SFO-PDX (Alaska), then PDX-KEF-HAM (IcelandAir), for roughly 15 hours of travel, and I think it will be about 0300 on our body clocks when we get to Germany. I hope we get some sleep on the flights.

Inevitably, we forget something on these trips. Around Sacramento, I recalled that I'd forgotten to pack my Bose noise-canceling headphones, which is a pity because they make these long airplane flights much easier. However, if that's the most significant thing we forgot, I will count ourselves lucky.
kevin_standlee: (FinnCon)
Although our flights back from Helsinki will be in IcelandAir Saga (business/first) class thanks to Alaska Airlines frequent-flyer miles, the outbound trip we purchased in Economy. IcelandAir has an offer where you get to "bid" on an upgraded Saga or Economy Comfort seat. (Economy Comfort is three seats for two people, with the middle seat blocked out.) A few days ago I put in bids and yesterday I learned the news: I hadn't bid enough for Saga, but both legs of the trip got upgrades to Economy Comfort. Now this roughly doubled the cost of the outbound trip, but it's still less than the E+ seats would have originally cost to purchase, so that seems to be a win to us. We pointed out to Kuma Bear that we more or less paid as much for his "seat" as for Lisa and me put together.

I called IcelandAir this afternoon to check on our seat assignments and to make sure that we were on the left side of the plane. (Because of Lisa's bad left ear, she prefers to sit with her left ear against the outside of the plane so she can hear me without having to turn her head.) I checked the assignments against what SeatGuru says the cabin arrangements are for our two flights (PDX-KEF and KEF-HAM), and I'm a bit puzzled, because according to those, we might actually be in Saga class seats. Not that I'd complain about that, of course. However, SeatGuru's maps may be out of date. Another nice thing sabout the EC seats is that they have power outlets, too.

The opening leg is SFO-PDX to get to the IcelandAir gateway, and that's a 737 that's showing packed, with me and Lisa in 30AB. That's not going to be fun, but I've done the flight a lot of times and I'll survive. Glad I've been continuing to lose weight.

Packing tonight. We're trying to not over-pack if we can avoid it, but it's a challenge, since we have to do things like fit the medium tripod in with my stuff, for instance. We'd like to leave room to carry things back. OTOH, since the return trip is in Saga class (with an extra checked bag each), if we must do so, we can buy some more luggage in Finland and carry the extras back that way. We did that on the Japan trip, and got a surprisingly good piece of luggage in a back street in Tokyo on the way to the Kato model train factory outlet store.

One more day at home. We leave tomorrow as soon after Noon as I can manage with the Day Jobbe.
kevin_standlee: (Business Meeting)
As I write this, it hasn't yet posted, but a new revision of the WSFS Business Meeting agenda has been submitted to the Worldcon 75 webmaster by Linda Deneroff (most of the work) and I (last eyeballs and some light editing). When it's posted at the WSFS Business Meeting page, I have some hope that we've reached the nearly final version of the agenda.

There are a few more changes coming down the pipeline for posting (probably by tomorrow sometime), but no more Hugo Category changes or other large-scale changes. There are some things on the agenda that I hope will give us the ability to cover everything within the amount of time we have allocated.
kevin_standlee: (Fernley House)
I only had a few things to get done today with Worldcon trip prep. I'd love to start packing, but it's too soon. Because I won't be able to rely on my smartphone (no way I'm going to set myself up for $$$$ in roaming charges), I've been printing out maps and directions to things we plan to do in Hamburg and Helsinki, and details about getting in between places like the train from Hamburg to Lubeck and the bus to Travemunde to catch the ferry. It's rather astonishing to realize how many trains there are between the cities, and how there are three different bus route with useful frequencies from Lubeck over to the ferry terminal. I'm just too used to working with train and bus schedules that are inconvenient and sparse, I guess. I expect that we'll show up earlier than we really need to do, if only to reduce stress should we miss a train or a bus along the way and have to wait for the next one.

Now I have to concentrate on working on the Day Jobbe for the next three days before we leave for San Francisco on Wednesday afternoon.
kevin_standlee: (FinnCon)
A week from today as I write this, Lisa and I should be in Portland changing planes for our flight to Reykjavík and then on to Hamburg. A week from yesterday we leave for the Bay Area, because the trip starts from there. I dropped off the vacation form with the local Sheriff's department today to schedule extra home checks. Lists of things to finish before we can leave are getting checked off. I alternatively want to hurry up and get going and am terrified that there's not enough time to finish everything. But I must say that I'm looking forward to only having to worry about travel logistics and Worldcon stuff for three weeks.
kevin_standlee: (Business Meeting)
Because some private correspondence shows me that not everyone with a concern about WSFS politics is aware of it, let me make it clear that the people managing the 2017 WSFS Business Meeting in Helsinki are:

Chair: Kevin Standlee
Deputy Chair: Donald Eastlake III
Secretary: Linda Deneroff
Timekeeper: Paul Dormer
Videographer: Lisa Hayes

WSFS Division Head: Michael Lee

I take no offense that not everyone knows I was chairing this year. I am, however, proud of my ongoing accomplishment, as this will be the fifth country in which I've presided over WSFS. (Scotland, USA, Canada, and Japan — the last pictured in my user icon here — are the earlier ones.) I don't think other past WSFS Chair has more than two countries under their belts. I hope to justify the Worldcon 75 committee's faith in my ability.
kevin_standlee: (Business Meeting)
This morning I was up early to help Worldcon 76 co-host the Westercon 70 Con Suite.

San Jose at Westercon 70

San Jose provided funding and additional food for the Con Suite this morning. Westercon 70 volunteers did the food prep, while those of us from the San Jose Worldcon talked about Worldcon to folks visiting the Con Suite this morning.

At Noon I headed off to chair the Westercon Business Meeting, where Lisa had already set up the camera. I'm not including the video here because I haven't had time to process and upload it. I hope to have an opportunity to do so in the next few days while traveling home. However, the only substantive business we had was receiving the initial report of the newly elected Westercon 72. There was no new Westercon Business. We barely made the (newly reduced) quorum of ten members. The meeting, including the Westercon 72 report, took six minutes.

After the meeting, Linda Deneroff helped Lisa and me tote the recording gear to the hotel room and then we went out to lunch at the Japanese restaurant conveniently located near the hotel, thus requiring very little walking in the blast-furnace heat.
kevin_standlee: (Pensive Kevin)
This morning after breakfast, Lisa carried the camera gear to the room where the Westercon Fannish Inquisition was to be held. She had been asked to record it. The room was relatively small, which is okay because only a few people attended, but also had no amplification, meaning that the recordings were limited to whatever the built-in microphone in the cameras could pick up. I ended up running the event, in part because my voice pitches well enough for the microphone.

There were only two participants in this particular Fannish Inquisition. the first was the Utah in 2019 Westercon Bid.



After the bid for 2019 it was time for questions for next year's Westercon in Denver.



These two presentations used up the entire hour, and there were no announcements from any bids for future years at this time. No Worldcon bidder/convention presentations were scheduled.

While the Inquisition was going on, Ben Yalow, Site Selection Administrator, got a phone call. He came to me as Lisa was packing equipment away and told me that because of the call he really needed to fly home right away and would I please take over as Emergency Holographic Site Selection Administrator. I agreed to do so, but asked him if he could get the table going today and after I helped Lisa get the gear back to the room I would come down straight away and take over.

After helping Lisa, I went to the Site Selection table and Ben briefed me on procedures. Judy Bemis, Linda Deneroff, and later Seth Breidbart volunteered to help me. After Ben gave me the gist of things, I told him, "Thank you. I relieve you, sir!" and when Ben started to dither over additional things, I said, "Go home, Ben!" He left. We all hope that the issue was not too awful serious. (It's not medical, but I think it best to wait to hear from him about what the issues way before saying much more.)

Plans of mine to spend most of today at the San Jose Worldcon table were obviously scuppered, as I needed to run Site Selection. However, we had other commitments as well. In particular, Kuma Bear was supposed to run an Art Show tour, with us helping him. Fortunately, Judy and Linda were able to run things while we did the tour and then went off to get some lunch. Kuma will write about the Art Show later.

Lisa and I had lunch at the Cornish Pasty bar a block from the hotel. The staff were friendly, the pasty was good, as was the scotch egg, but Lisa said the fries were too peppery, and we both agreed that the music was too loud and too distorted. Still, we were better off for having had lunch.

Running Site Selection is relatively easy when there aren't a lot of ballots being cast. As I said in a reply elsewhere, not only is this a small convention (I'm guessing fewer than 500 bodies on site), but a lot of the "usual suspects" who regularly attend Westercon aren't here due to various factors. This means that a higher-than-usual proportion of the membership are people who won't/can't attend conventions outside of commuting range. For them, a site in Utah might as well be on the Moon, so they're not going to take any notice of or participate in the election. So 42 votes is low, but not terribly surprising.

At 6 PM, we closed the polls. Seth Breidbart and I along with the Hatchers (the Utah bid team) went up to the Board Room where we had been told we could count ballots. Unfortunately, the room was locked and we were unable to find anyone who could get the room unlocked. Fortunately, the adjacent room (where the Inquisition was this morning and where the Business Meeting will be tomorrow) was just winding up its last panel, so once they cleared out, we could use it to do the counting.

Counting itself was pretty simple, with so few ballots. Linda Deneroff joined us and helped with the count. To my relief, the number of voter information sheets and the amount of money we received matched the number of votes cast. Sometimes there are more voter sheets than ballots, which is okay because that means someone paid for a vote and then didn't cast it, but the bad result is when you have more votes than voters, which doesn't happen often and fortunately didn't happen here.

Because Westercon rules don't require that the Business Meeting formally accept the results, I declared the election final, congratulated the winning Westercon 72 Committee, and gave them their voting fees and membership data. I then wrote up the results for the convention newsletter, thanked everyone for their help, and Linda and I carried the Site Selection gear back to my hotel room, where Lisa was taking a nap. The three of us went to dinner at the "Identikit Irish Pub-Restaurant" next to the hotel, which had decent food, and then we hit the parties.

Before heading to dinner, I had set one of the computers to processing the Fannish Inquisition videos. They were done when we came back from dinner, but they are huge and the bandwidth here at the hotel isn't that huge, so I set them to uploading. It took many hours to get those videos online.

After 11 PM, Lisa and I remembered that we wanted to go to CVS to get some more Diet Coke for me and chocolate milk for her. You'd think a four block walk at that time of the night wouldn't be so bad, but the heat was still very stifling, and it was very hard on both of us, Lisa worse than me. I hope we're able to get enough rest to be able to get our remaining responsibilities done tomorrow.

On Monday morning, I'm helping Worldcon 76 co-host the Con Suite from 10:30 to 12:30, although I need to leave early because I'm chairing the Westercon Business Meeting, which Lisa is recording. There is no business expected, so unless someone surprises us, it will be a very short meeting, with an initial report from Westercon 72 the only thing I'm expecting. We have the afternoon free (other than helping with Worldcon 76's table), but will need to get dinner early, because we have to set up for the 8 PM Match Game SF show. Fortunately, we have two hours for set up. Unfortunately, we need to move the gear in from the car in the blazing sun. I've moved the minivan closer to the room where the show will be, but it still it likely to be a strain on us.
kevin_standlee: (SMOF Zone)
To hardly anyone's surprise, the uncontested bid to host the 2019 Westercon in Layton (Salt Lake City), Utah won handily in the site selection that closed this afternoon in Tempe at Westercon 70. Turnout was very light, with 43 votes cast, 4 of which were for No Preference. Of the 39 ballots with a preference, they broke down as follows:

Utah 32
Tonopah NV 3
Reno NV 2
Hopland CA 1
"Both" 1

With 20 votes being needed to elect, Utah's bid won on the first ballot.

Site Selection Administrator Ben Yalow was called home on an emergency and had to leave Tempe this afternoon, but asked me to step in as Emergency Holographic Administrator. I was assisted by Judy Bemis, Linda Deneroff, and Seth Breidbart.

Westercon does not require official receipt of the results by the Business Meeting (unless there is a situation requiring action by the Business Meeting), and thus the results were considered official when certified by the Administrator. The newly seated Westercon 72 committee will be make a presentation at the Business Meeting on Monday at 12:30 PM at Westercon 70, will be selling memberships from their table tomorrow and Tuesday, and will host a victory party on Monday night.

The Utah for 2019 Committee will continue with their NASFiC bid to jointly host the 2019 NASFiC along with Westercon 72, assuming that the unopposed Dublin in 2019 Worldcon bid wins its bid to host Worldcon 77.
kevin_standlee: (Kevin Standlee)
Westercon 70 started today. It's oddly disconcerting having a convention run Saturday-Tuesday, but that's what happens when the convention dates need to "bridge" through Independence Day.

Worldcon San Jose is Here )

Westercon 70 is donating a complete set of one of their GoH's books (Gini Koch) as a Bonus Round prize for Match Game SF, and I collected those this afternoon as well and put them with our other material.

It's very, very hot here. At one point I went to the minivan to collect some things, and realized that we'd left the bag of chocolate covered raisins that I'd bought in Beatty in the bottom of the ice chest. Even though we're parked as much in the shade as possible and it is an insulated container, the heat was just too much for what is now a congealed mass of melted chocolate with raisins embedded in it. Oh well.

After the dealer's room closed, David Clark joined Lisa, Linda Deneroff, and me for dinner at the nearby My Big Fat Greek Restaurant, where Lisa and I ate many times during the previous Tempe Westercon and that we both like quite a bit. It also has the advantage of only being one block away from the hotel, which means a lot when trying to move around in this stifling heat.

After dinner, Lisa and I made a brief visit to the parties, particularly the Utah Westercon bid party, but we were both very tired and turned in early. Tomorrow we have the Fannish Inquisition (Lisa has been asked to record it and I'll post it to YouTube as soon as I can). In the afternoon, Kuma Bear has been asked to host one of the Art Show tours (at 2 PM). Those are our only commitments tomorrow.

It looks like a fair number of Westercon's Usual Suspects are not going to be here in Tempe. Some are staying away for weather-related reasons, while others have their schedules cramped by the fact that NASFiC is the following weekend. Lisa and I have attending memberships to Puerto Rico but can't attend. In fact, we'll still be on the road in Las Vegas, but I'll be working at the Day Jobbe, when NASFiC starts.

Incidentally, during Opening Ceremonies here at Westercon, we were told there were about 600 members at the start of the convention.
kevin_standlee: (SFSFC)
We had a good, productive day of Worldcon 2018 planning meetings here at the San Jose Marriott and the SJ Convention Center. Lisa and I decided that paying more for the hotel buffet than we would pay for the Peppermill's massive weekend brunch was excessive, so we walked down to Peggy Sue's and had a fair breakfast for less than the cost of one of the Marriott breakfasts, then joined the herd of cats assembled Worldcon 76 committee for the tour of the San Jose McEnery Convention Center. Things are not the same as they were in 2002, and in particular the former library site was razed and rebuilt as a large ballroom.

Major Event Space )

After the convention center walk-through, we broke for lunch. I'm pleased to see just how many more options there are for downtown dining than there were fifteen years ago. After lunch, we reconvened for planning meetings of various sorts, such as making sure that every area we have on the convention organization list is assigned to a division. When we got to WSFS Business Meeting, I said, "It's WSFS's area" and explained when people started to opine that it belonged somewhere else, that:

WSFS Business Meeting is managed by WSFS, is a tenant of Programming, acts like an Event, and uses Tech Service.


Yes, we're very cross-functional here.

During one of the meetings in which I wasn't involved, I had a review of my division's timeline items with Bobbi Armbruster, our Mistress of Timelines.

Final Meeting of the Day )

With the main meetings out of the way, it was time for dinner. In our case, we had an unhurried dinner at the Indian restaurant out the back door of the Fairmont Hotel before wandering back to the "con suite" at the Marriott. (We were conveniently able to get a hotel room two doors down from the hospitality suite.) We had a pleasant evening socializing with the other folks here. Bruce Farr pulled me aside to review the current state of the WSFS Division budget (no surprises at this time; just marking things as "this is already committed" like the Hugo rocket order and "we'd like to have this but know we can't commit until much later" like tea/coffee service for the Business Meeting.

Earlier than we would have liked we said goodnight and walked the short distance back to our room. Because of the long drive we have home tomorrow, we won't be staying long, although I do have a meeting at 9:30.

My computer still will only boot in Safe Mode, which is not good at all, but at least means there's some hope that we can salvage things. I won't attempt any fixes until we get home where the backups are located.
kevin_standlee: (SFSFC)
As soon as I could get away from Day Jobbe today, we loaded up and headed for the Bay Area. Including grabbing lunch in Sparks, stopping for 30 minutes to see my sister in Sacramento, and dinner in Tracy, it took about nine hours to get to San Jose. This is our first stay in the San Jose Marriott, where we'll be at a Worldcon 76 division heads meeting this weekend.

Unfortunately, my computer refuses to boot up in regular mode. I've managed to get it up in safe mode, and I'll fiddle with it more when I get a chance. I hope it is not serious. I don't have time right now. I need sleep.
kevin_standlee: (Gavel of WSFS)
Worldcon 75 Helsinki has published the 2017 Business Meeting pages (also available from the front page by selecting "WSFS & Hugos" then "WSFS Business Meeting"). My great thanks to Linda Deneroff for pulling together the information from the past two years' Business Meetings and working with Helsinki's web team to get this going.

The part that I think most people who care are more interested in right now is the first Agenda document. This will of course keep changing as new material is submitted. There's already new business there, including proposals to change the Standing Rules, a Hugo Award eligibility extension, and new Constitutional amendments.

It's already a long agenda, what with twelve pending ratification (or related subject) items besides any new business. I'll be surprised if we can get through it all in only three days, and I'm expecting to have to into Overtime for the third year in a row.

One thing I'm proposing we do this year differently with the agenda is to put Standing Rule amendments first. That's because the meeting has the ability (by a 2/3 vote) to make standing rule amendments take effect immediately. It would be pointless to put the vote on such things after most of the business affected by it. In particular, there's a proposal regarding the setting of debate times that, if adopted to take effect immediately, would significantly affect how the rest of the Preliminary Business Meeting runs.

I'm also putting Resolutions (which can be dealt with at the Preliminary Meeting) up front as well, before we get into the debate-limit-setting for Constitutional Amendments. This should, I hope, allow us to get through the agenda more efficiently.

Again, thank you Linda and thank you to Helsinki's web team and WSFS division manager Michael Lee for their help and support here. I've been working at Day Jobbe at a pace that has left me with not as much time as I would like to do this myself, so Linda is a life saver here.
kevin_standlee: (Gavel of WSFS)
Ben Yalow has pointed out to me that, in the context of a discussion that happened a few days ago about when WSFS Constitutional amendments take effect and the somewhat esoteric and nearly theoretical question of whether a vote in favor of ratification can be considered, the following Ruling of Continuing Effect, from 2002:

CH-2002-4: The Chair ruled that amendments to the Constitution become part of the Constitution at the moment of ratification, although they generally do not take effect until later; therefore, they are subject to amendment as any other part of the Constitution.
So what does this mean in practice, particularly regarding the YA Award with its problematical blanks and provisions, up for ratification this year? I've been argued around to the following:

1. If the YA Award as it currently stands is ratified, it becomes part of the WSFS Constitution the moment it is ratified, but it does not take effect (including its provision) until the end of Worldcon 75.

2. Item 1 means that that as it currently stands, the Worldcon 75 WSFS Business Meeting does not have the authority to name a YA Award. However, the 2018 WSFS Business Meeting could apply a name to the Award in a single vote because of that provision. (Of course, this is all moot if the base proposal fails to be ratified.)

3. Should the 2017 Business Meeting decide to ratify that YA proposal without the provision, the 2017 Meeting could then move as a new amendment to insert a name into the Award, with the name being something that could be passed in 2017 and ratified in 2018, like any other WSFS Constitutional amendment. That means the YA Award would have no official name in 2018, but (assuming 2017 passes a naming amendment that is ratified in 2018), it could get an official name for 2019 and beyond.

4. I would rule an amendment to strike out the special provision in the YA Amendment to be a reduction of scope and thus subject to immediate ratification. That's not because it reduces the number of words in the proposal. (You can increase the scope of change while simultaneously reducing the word count of a given proposal.) It is because striking out the special provision brings the proposal closer to the existing Constitutional rules; that makes the scope of change smaller, and we can ratify anything between the existing Constitution and the fully-scoped proposal up for ratification.

Now CH-2002-4 is a Chair's Ruling that has never been overturned either by a contrary ruling, a Standing Rule, or a change to the WSFS Constitution; therefore, it has significant binding force over WSFS procedures, although the Business Meeting could decide to set it aside. As part of the body of "Customs and Usages of WSFS," it has higher precedence than the parliamentary authority, Robert's Rules of Order, Newly Revised, although in fact I contend that it's quite consistent with RONR anyway.

The embarrassing thing about having to have CH-2002-4 pointed out to me is that I'm the one who made the ruling back at the 2002 WSFS Business Meeting. Oops. Oh, and because I'm the one who wrote the procedural end-run about naming, I'm setting myself up to, in effect, overrule myself. It wouldn't even be the first time that I, as WSFS Business Meeting Chair, have overruled an action that I, in some other role, took in WSFS.

Nothing I have said in this post should be taken as my expressing an opinion on the merits of a WSFS-sanctioned YA fiction award, or on the merits of any name (or lack of a name). I'm neutral on the merits. I'm only interested in making sure the process is correct.

Oh, and I still don't think you can reconsider an affirmative vote to ratify a Constitutional amendment.
kevin_standlee: (Business Meeting)
Some months ago, I gave a prospective opinion regarding whether the WSFS Business Meeting in Helsinki this year would be able to apply a name to the proposed YA Award (not a Hugo Award) without having to go through the re-ratification process. At that time, I said that attempting to apply a name to the award would increase the scope of the constitutional amendment and require re-ratification. Since then, I have given the issue more thought, studied the wording of the constitutional amendment, and discussed it with the other members of the WSFS Nitpicking and Flyspecking Committee, and I have come to a new conclusion. I have changed my mind, but only in a limited way.

I now currently intend to rule that the WSFS Business Meeting in Helsinki can apply a name to the YA Award, but only if it does so after ratifying the pending proposal, and not before voting on ratification.

Here's the Reasoning )

I advise the proponents of this proposal, should they wish to propose a name for the proposed YA Award, to submit any naming resolution as a new constitutional amendment, with a provision that it only be considered after the YA Award ratification is voted upon, and of course only if the YA Award is ratified.

As I said, I've discussed this with the other members of the WSFS Nitpicking & Flyspecking Committee, and all of the members who expressed an opinion agree with my reasoning. Of course, this is still likely to be controversial, and (like the original proposed ruling), I anticipate that it will be appealed, so ultimately, a majority of the members present and voting in Helsinki will decide. As with my original opinion, I think it's sufficiently important that I'm getting this announcement out here now rather than dropping it out of the blue in Helsinki.
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: (OMG Puppies)
As part of my Hugo Award web site tasks, I see a lot of pings against stuff we post to the Hugo Awards site. Today I saw one (no, I won't link to it; they don't deserve the traffic, and there's no way to reply anyway) complaining about how the Hugo "voting committee" gave out No Award to a bunch of things. The fact that there is is no "voting committee" in the form of a tiny, select, probably secret cabal doesn't even cross this poster's mind. Presumably the fact that every member of WSFS — thousands of them, and not difficult to join — can vote, and a huge (relative to previous turnout) proportion of them did so, doesn't mean anything to the poster.

The most generous thing I can think of with willfully ignorant posts like that is such people's minds can't even process the possibility of an award like the Hugo Award being open to vote of anyone who wants to join WSFS. It's a blind spot to them. They assume that of course a tiny group of Bad People make all of the decisions, because of course that's how Things Really Work. In fact, I reckon that this says a lot about how they would run things if you put them in charge.

The really sad and even dangerous thing is that this probably reflects the opinions of a lot of people in a more general sense. Participating in politics is irrelevant. Voting is irrelevant. All decisions are made in secret, and there's nothing anyone can do about it. We just need Strong Man to save us from Bad People. Oh, and Strong Man will never hurt me, because I am Good People.

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