kevin_standlee: (Gavel of WSFS)
2017-08-14 08:41 am

Business Meeting Note: I Made a Mistake

At the third and final Main Business Meeting on the last day of Worldcon 75, we considered (and ratified/adopted) six constitutional amendments, and for the most part we breezed right through them. In the process of doing so, I repeatedly allowed the introduction of motions to "suspend the rules, end all debate, and adopt the motion immediately" as ordinary motions to Suspend The Rules, requiring a two-thirds vote. This was wrong.

WSFS Standing Rule 5.5 reads, in part: "The motion for the Previous Question (also known as the motion to 'close debate,' 'call the question,' and 'vote now') shall not be in order when... either or both sides of the debate have yet to speak to a question." Previous Question requires a 2/3 vote ordinarily anyway, which is the same vote as Suspend the Rules. Therefore, this standing rule must be protecting a minority smaller than one-third. I think that this rule must be protecting a minority as small as a single individual present at the meeting (not absentees), because it says you can't end the debate unless at least one speaker from each side of the question has had the opportunity to speak. (It doesn't require that a speech actually happen, just that both sides get an opportunity to do so.)

In parliamentary law, there is a hierarchy of rights in the rules. For example, the majority has rights, which surprises at least one person I spoke to this past weekend, who looked at me with a confused, blank expression on his face when I told him that super-majorities of two-thirds generally have the right to not have their time wasted. Furthermore, some rules can't be suspended at all: a rule that protects absent members can't be suspended.

A rule protecting a minority of a given size cannot be suspended except by a larger majority. What that means is this:
A rule that protects the right of an individual member can only be suspended by unanimous consent.

This doesn't mean that there is an unlimited right to debate. If at least one other person has spoken to your side of the question (and the other side has had an opportunity to speak, regardless of whether they actually do so), the meeting can then vote (2/3) to shut off debate, and your right as an individual to speak can be overridden. But if your side hasn't spoken at all, you as an individual member have the right to stop the entire rest of the room from shutting down your side's debate until you get a shot at it.

Thus, the motion as it was first made by John Pomeranz was correct, as it was to "suspend the rules and adopt by acclamation," which is to say unanimous consent. But in such a case, if even one member objected, the motion should have failed, and both sides of the question should have been given the opportunity to speak to the matter if they choose to do so. After that, the motion for the Previous Question (end debate, 2/3 required) would have been in order.

Please be mindful that I'm not saying we should have "sham debate" where people take the floor to say one or two words to just barely meet a technical requirement for debate. That's foolish. But it was wrong of me to allow a motion that protected individuals (a minority of one) to be passed on anything less than a unanimous vote.

Now, my mistake doesn't invalidate the actions of the meeting. Someone, anyone could have made a Point of Order about this. Nobody did, and thus the result stands. But I don't want to make that mistake again, and I want others to learn from my mistake so that it doesn't get repeated.
kevin_standlee: (Worldcon 75)
2017-08-13 11:50 pm

Worldcon 75 Day 5: And So We Finnish

For the third year in a row, we had a WSFS Business Meeting on the final day of Worldcon. However, unlike the previous two years, the "overflow" business was far less contentious than what had come before. Consequently, I decided that I could lighten up a little bit and "dressed down" for the final meeting.

Meet the Entire Team )

Today's final meeting took around 30 minutes (out of the five hours scheduled), and every one of the relatively minor items remaining received ratification or first passage. We then adjourned sine die and Lisa packed up the camera gear. She was done, but I was not, because we still had the WSFS Mark Protection Committee meeting. The MPC meeting was nearly without a quorum (fifteen members, thus needing eight people), but we were able to make it work because Worldcon/NASFiC appointees serve "at the pleasure of the appointing authority," so I (in my Worldcon 76 San Jose WSFS Division Head role) could temporarily appoint someone at WC76's representative. (I'm an elected member, not the San Jose rep.) We got such work done as we had to do: I was re-elected Chair, Linda Deneroff was re-elected Secretary, and Bruce Farr was re-elected Treasurer. The rest of our business is done mostly through the committee's e-mail discussion list.

I found out later that the live streaming of the Business Meeting ended up also including the MPC meeting. I hope I didn't say anything embarrassing on a live mic. Note that I also used my new personal gavel to preside over the MPC meeting.

After the meeting, I carried all of the stuff (including the small WSFS banner) up to the hotel room, then went back down to find Lisa, and met up with Linda Deneroff in the Volunteer Lounge. We also picked up our volunteer t-shirts before we joined Linda and Elinor for our final lunch in the convention center. This also gave us a chance to use up the last of the "groats" (tokens issued to volunteers at the rate of €1 per hour worked, redeemable in convention centre food venues, Sales to Members, and selected vendors in the dealers' room.)

Rockets, Benches, and Hugo Trophies )

During lunch, I ran into con chair Jukka Halme, to whom I delivered the Gavel of WSFS for him to use later that afternoon. After lunch and a couple of hours of looking around the convention, Lisa went back to the Luna Society table and I went to the Closing Ceremony. But that's another story.
kevin_standlee: (Business Meeting)
2017-08-13 03:16 pm

2017 WSFS Business Meeting: Third Main Business Meeting

For the third year in a row, we were unable to complete the entire WSFS agenda in three days of meetings and had to go into overtime. (Prior to that, the last time we had to use the "overflow" session was 1992.)

Here's the summary of what happened at the Third and Final Main Business Meeting. As yesterday, you'll need to refer to the 2017 WSFS Business Meeting Agenda to understand what's happening. Anything not mentioned either happened previously or was not considered yet. If a vote count is not listed, it means it was either by unanimous consent or by a show of hands.

Constitutional Amendments Passed on From Last Year. Ratified items take effect at end of current Worldcon and first apply to next year.

C.8. Retrospective Improvement Pt. 1. RATIFIED
C.9. Retrospective Improvement Pt. 2. RATIFIED
C.10. Universal Suffrage. RATIFIED

New Constitutional Amendments

D.1. What Our Marks Really Are. After making a minor correction clarifying that it applies to all WSFS-sanctioned conventions, not just Worldcon, this was RATIFIED.
D.2. The Reasonable Amendment. RATIFIED
D.3. Make Room! Make Room! RATIFIED

There was no debate to speak of on any of these six items. All "debate" time was taken up with people asking questions about the effect of them. Some of the questions frustrated me greatly, especially when people were asking if the rule would require [insert absurd thing here] and I had to point out that the existing rule is substantially the same and doesn't require that, so the amendment that makes a minor tweak to the rule certainly would not do so.

After only about thirty minutes (out of the five hours allocated due to the potential for another year of long discussion), the 2017 WSFS Business meeting ADJOURNED SINE DIE, meaning that we were done for this year. I'll post an overall summary later when I get a chance.

The WSFS Mark Protection Committee met at 10:50 for about half an hour. We had difficulty making quorum because one member had already left for the airport, one had forgotten that there was a meeting at all, and another assumed that the Final BM would last much longer than it did. I think that next time, we will schedule the WSFS MPC meeting as "Not Before XX," which means that we might have a dead spot, and if we run long before it, people who show up at XX have to wait, but we will definitely not start before XX.

And so we are done. We took down the WSFS banner from the front of the head table and I packed it in my poster tube. Tomorrow I need to go to the post office and mail it home (along with other posters Lisa acquired here from the nuclear power plant tour). It will take me quite a while to process all of what happened here and update the WSFS/Worldcon/Hugo Award web sites, but I'm very happy that we did not have to turn anyone way and that we managed to get through the whole agenda without an overflow error. Thank you to everyone who made it work and who made me look better up on the head table.
kevin_standlee: (Business Meeting)
2017-08-12 03:21 pm

2017 WSFS Business Meeting: Second Main Business Meeting

Here's the summary of what happened at the First Main Business Meeting. As yesterday, you'll need to refer to the 2017 WSFS Business Meeting Agenda to understand what's happening. Anything not mentioned either happened previously or was not considered yet. If a vote count is not listed, it means it was either by unanimous consent or by a show of hands.

Constitutional Amendments Passed on From Last Year. Ratified items take effect at end of current Worldcon and first apply to next year.

C.1. Best Series (as amended by C.1.1. RATIFIED, 51-39.
C.4. Three Stage Voting (3SV): FAILED, 45-41.
C.5. Motion to Suspend E Pluribus Hugo for one year: FAILED
C.6. EPH+: FAILED
C.7. Defining North America: RATIFIED
(Item C.12 was moved up on the agenda by a 2/3 vote)
C.12. Motion to suspend 5 and 6 for one year: FAILED

At that point the meeting adjourned, so we once again will go to an "overflow" meeting on the final day of the convention, starting at 10:00.

Constitutional Amendments Passed on From Last Year. Ratified items take effect at end of current Worldcon and first apply to next year.

C.8. Retrospective Improvement Pt. 1. (8 min)
C.9. Retrospective Improvement Pt. 2. (8 min)
C.10. Universal Suffrage. (8 min)

New Constitutional Amendments

D.1. What Our Marks Really Are. (4 min)
D.2. The Reasonable Amendment. (4 min)
D.3. Make Room! Make Room! (6 min)
D.5. Requiring Electronic Payments (This was killed by being postponed indefinitely at the Preliminary Business Meeting.

(The three Hugo Category splits/revisions were referred to the Hugo Award Study Committee and will not be considered this year.)

Once we get past C.10, the meeting can adjourn sine die without considering any of the remaining new proposals.

The WSFS Mark Protection Committee will meet about 15 minutes after the final adjournment of the Sunday Business Meeting.
kevin_standlee: (Hugo Trophy)
2017-08-11 11:55 pm

Worldcon 75 Day 3: Hugo Award Night

Worldcon 75 elected to present the 2017 Hugo Awards on the third night of the convention, which in this case was Friday. So this evening it was time for the Hugo Awards web site's annual live coverage of the Hugo Awards Ceremony.

Meet the Team )

Susan de Guardiola did stellar work doing advance research on the finalists and taking scads of photos. When Cheryl rejoined us before the ceremony (just after we kicked off the "pre-show" on CoverItLive), she brought additional photos. Susan provided photos and posted the finalists in each category. I posted the winner in each category (which is a great time-saver; this live coverage is harder than you might think it is). Cheryl moderated comments, provided descriptions of what was happening, and did her usual great job of telling us how the event was unfolding.

Now there are some people who question the utility of mere "text-only" coverage of events like this now that video-streaming has become more common. However, tonight, I think the Hugo Awards Marketing Committee got their $200 worth. (That was the cost of upgrading our CoverItLive account to the level necessary to support such a large event.) That's because for whatever reason, the live video stream that Worldcon 75 intended to provide (and they've generally been pretty good at producing such streams, such as the one they're providing of the WSFS Business Meeting) failed to work. There were "casual" streams such as one produced by a fan in the audience, but the official video feed from the convention failed to materialize. As with the time that the UStream feed was shut down by a 'bot, our CoverItLive event attracted a lot of attention from the "refugees" who had gone to the YouTube site.

At peak, we had more than 1300 people watching our coverage, and I think that it may be the best show we've done yet. Besides being the place to go when the video streaming fails, CoverItLive uses a lot less bandwidth than video streaming, and thus people who have lower-bandwidth connections can watch it without being overwhelmed by the amount of data. Bandwidth out for us was not a problem, though. Wireless connectivity in the convention center is excellent, and we were also given access to the separate "press" wi-fi so we didn't have to compete with all of the people in the audience using social media during the event.

Cheryl and I had invitations to the post-Hugo party. Indeed, as Worldcon 76 was co-hosting the event with George R.R. Martin, we'd been encouraged to come down and work a shift. However, Cheryl is staying at the airport (and the trains don't run all night), and I have to be up earlier than most for the Business Meeting. (Yes, others attending have to be up early as well, but I'm one of those who needs to be there an hour before the meeting starts to do setup.) Furthermore, there had been something of a confusion over the delivery of certain boxes of WSFS papers that should have gone to 208 (Business Meeting) instead of the Hugo Backstage, so I said goodnight to Susan and Cheryl and moved a cart of boxes over to 208. And I got out of the hall just in time; they turned off the lights just as I was leaving!

You can see the 2017 Hugo Awards results here. We'll also clean up the Hugo Awards web site and get pictures of this year's trophy online soon — I hope tomorrow. We were not provided with photos in advance, nor did we get the detailed results until right after the ceremony, so we haven't had time to do more than the basic work on the site, and I need to get some rest, because the Business Meeting tomorrow is scheduled for four hours.

I am very grateful to Cheryl Morgan for sorting out our base from which we did our coverage, to Susan for the color commentary, photos, and analysis, and to everyone on the Worldcon 75 committee who came together to make our coverage of this year's Hugo Awards Ceremony a success. Thank you all!
kevin_standlee: (Business Meeting)
2017-08-11 02:58 pm

2017 WSFS Business Meeting: First Main Business Meeting

Here's the summary of what happened at the First Main Business Meeting. As yesterday, you'll need to refer to the 2017 WSFS Business Meeting Agenda to understand what's happening. Anything not mentioned either happened yesterday or was not considered yet. If a vote count is not listed, it means it was either by unanimous consent or by a show of hands.

Standing Rule Changes:

A.2. No Vanishing Business: Revised version allowing items to be withdrawn up to two weeks before the final deadline for submitting new business PASSED and takes effect next year.

Constitutional Amendments. Ratified items take effect at end of current Worldcon and first apply to next year.

C.1. Best Series. POSTPONED to Saturday.
C.2. December is Good Enough: RATIFIED.
C.3. Two Years is Enough: RATIFIED (but includes grandfather clause that effectively means it does not apply until 2019 Worldcon.
C.11. Young Adult Award. Blank award name and provision related to it struck out of the proposal. The new award RATIFIED 65-27 and will be first presented (as the "Award for Best Young Adult Book" without a further specific name) in 2018.
D.4. Naming the YA Award. New proposal, moved up in the agenda by order of the Preliminary Meeting. "Lodestar Award for Best Young Adult Book" PASSED and sent to 2018 for ratification. The new YA category is not currently named "Lodestar." If this proposal is ratified next year, future YA Awards will be called "Lodestar."

D.6/D.7/D.8 (Hugo Category Change proposals). REFERRED to Hugo Award Study Committee. Will not be considered this year. Committee to report next year with recommendations.

That's where we ran out of time. Therefore, the remaining items for discussion on Saturday are, and in this order:

C.1. Best Series (10 min)
C.4. Three Stage Voting (3SV) (20 min)
C.5. Motion to Suspend E Pluribus Hugo for one year (10 min)
C.6. EPH+. (20 min) (Amendment C.6.1 debate time 5 min allocated from the 20 min.)
C.7. Defining North America. (4 min)
C.8. Retrospective Improvement Pt. 1. (8 min)
C.9. Retrospective Improvement Pt. 2. (8 min)
C.10. Universal Suffrage. (8 min)
C.12. Motion to suspend 5 and 6 for one year. (10 min)

New Constitutional Amendments

D.1. What Our Marks Really Are. (4 min)
D.2. The Reasonable Amendment. (4 min)
D.3. Make Room! Make Room! (6 min)

The Mark Protection Committee reported. The three incumbent members (John Coxon, Linda Deneroff, and Dave McCarty) were re-elected to three-year terms.

The Nitpicking & Flyspecking Committee and Worldcon Runners Editorial Guide Committees reported and their members re-appointed.

The Long List Committee was continued as previously constituted.

IMPORTANT SCHEDULE NOTE

The Saturday Business Meeting convenes at 10:00 for Site Selection business, but other substantive business will not start until 11:00. However, there will be a report distributed in writing by this year's Hugo Award Administrator at 10:00 that people will probably want to read before voting on proposals coming up on Saturday. I therefore recommend that people interested in the substantive Hugo Award business but not in Site Selection come by between 9:30 and 10:00 and collect the report, then come back for 11:00.

After Site Selection for 2019 and Question Time for 2018 and 2020, the meeting will recess, and the Worldcon Chairs Photo will happen as fast as we can rearrange chairs. Not before 11:00 the meeting will reconvene for the Second Main Business Meeting. We are scheduled from 11:00-13:45 for this meeting. Anything not resolved on Saturday will hold over until Sunday, where was have 10:00-15:00 set aside. (Yes, I know some of you are leaving. There's nothing I can do about that.)
kevin_standlee: (Business Meeting)
2017-08-10 11:45 pm

Worldcon 75 Day 2: Giving Myself the Business (Meeting)

Day 2 included the first (preliminary) WSFS Business Meeting, which meant a lot of work and stress for both Lisa and me. But fortunately, the worst case scenarios did not come to pass, and we (barely) managed to complete the business we had to get done, although not everything that we would have preferred to get done.

Our biggest fear going in to today's meeting was that we would have more people wanting to attend than the room capacity of 240 seats. Unlike every other item at this convention, where you can turn people way, the WSFS Business Meeting cannot refuse admission to any attending member who wants to attend. Had we overflowed the room, a contingency plan with Programming would have been activated that would have allowed every member who wished to participate a chance to do so, but would have been massively disruptive and expensive. I think we were very fortunate that only around 100 people attended, so there was plenty of room. I fielded a complaint from someone griping that we were using a room that was too big for such a small turnout, and when I tried to explain that we have to try to use rooms that are "too large" due to not being able to turn people way, he just looked sort of blankly at me. Most people just don't get that the WSFS BM is really the only required program item at the entire convention, and that every member is guaranteed attendance, and that you can never really tell how many people are going to show up.

I don't know the exact attendance count. The total of the one counted vote we did won't tell you that, because not everyone votes on such things, and calling for abstentions is meaningless. (Because people who don't answer when you call for abstentions have abstained just as much as those who do answer.) I'm pretty sure it was more than 100 but less than 150. We'll know later when the sign-in sheets are tallied.

Business Meeting Team )

As has been our practice since 2015, we started by showing the WSFS Business Meeting Basics video. But before I called the meeting to order, Lisa wanted to make an announcement and presentation.

Springing a Surprise on the Chairman )

I was very surprised and flattered at the gift and the applause from the meeting.

I wrote earlier today about a summary of how the Business Meeting went. I had the time to do this because immediately following the Business Meeting and in the same room was the Fannish Inquisition, which Lisa was also recording. I was sitting over to one side writing that report while bids for future Worldcons talked about their plans. Lisa logged several more hours than I did today, and when we went back to the hotel room after the Inquisition ended just before 15:00, she sent me out to get some lunch while she got some rest and made lunch out of some of the supplies we had cached in the hotel room.

After sitting with Ron Oakes and Mike Willmoth in the food court for lunch, I walked with Cheryl over to the Green Room, where she and I prepared for our respective panels. At 17:00 I was on a panel about different SF/F genre awards around the world. Unlike many of the panels here, this one was not over-subscribed and nobody was turned away from the discussion. We had panelists from Germany, Japan, Australia/New Zealand, and me. It went pretty well, and the audience seemed to like it.

Even though it was early, I knew I wouldn't have the time or energy to go off-site, and the food court restaurants close too early. (In some cases because they're running out of food as we're eating and drinking them out of stock.) Cheryl (who I met as she came out of her panel) and I got food, and we were joined by Susan de Guardiola, who will be the third member of the Hugo Awards Web Site CoverItLive coverage team tomorrow night as we bring you live coverage of the 2017 Hugo Awards Ceremony.

After dinner, I headed up to my room for a little while to cool off for a bit. Lisa had gone on to have dinner with Chris Carson and his friends (making use of their convention-supplied transit passes to go downtown on the train). I then put on my San Jose "bowling shirt" (many San Jose committee members are wearing matching bowling-league-style shirts this weekend to show a "brand identity" for Worldcon 76) and went down to the Winter Garden to help our convention set up our party.

Worldcon 76 at Worldcon 75 )

I may end up with my picture in Locus because they took a group photo of all of us who were there in our San Jose team shirts.

A Present from Kansas City )

I spent a lot of time talking with many people at the party about a lot of things, although admittedly much of it was WSFS Business, but around 23:00, Lisa and I headed back to the hotel room. We still have to be up early to be at the Business Meeting room for 9:00, but we now have much less worry about overflowing that room.
kevin_standlee: (Business Meeting)
2017-08-10 01:59 pm

2017 WSFS Business Meeting: Preliminary Business Meeting

Here's a relatively quick summary of what happened at today's Preliminary Business Meeting. You'll need to refer to the 2017 WSFS Business Meeting Agenda to understand what's happening.

Standing Rule Changes:

A.1. No Candidate Regions: PASSED, takes effect immediately
A.2. No Vanishing Business: REFERRED TO COMMITTEE to report tomorrow due to a dispute over wording
A.3. Debate Time Streamlining: PASSED, takes effect immediately (and thank goodness it passed, because we never would have been able to complete the base agenda otherwise)
A.4. Electronic Documents are a Thing: REJECTED
A.5. Butt Out (officially bans smoking): PASSED

Note that "smoking" is undefined. Whether it includes e-cigarettes would be up to the individual meeting. However, in practice, all facilities prohibit smoking anyway. This rule would only apply in the unlikely event that the venue permitted it.

Resolutions:

B.1. Eligibility: your name: PASSED, extending the work's Hugo Eligibility for one year
B.2. Hugo Award Study Committee: Alternative version B.2.1. PASSED. Vincent Docherty to chair.
B.3. Provision of Convention Publications to Members: Alternative version B.3.1 PASSED.

Constitutional Amendments and Business Passed On
This is mostly setting debate time limits.

C.1. Best Series. Debate Time 10 min. Amendment C.1.1 Debate time 4 min in addition to the 10 min
C.2. December is Good Enough: Debate time 8 min.
C.3. Two Years is Enough: Debate time 8 min.
C.4. Three Stage Voting (3SV): Debate time 20 min.
C.5. Motion to Suspend E Pluribus Hugo for one year: Debate time 10 min. POSTPONED to Saturday.
C.6. EPH+. Debate time 20 min. (Amendment C.6.1 debate time 5 min allocated from the 20 min.)
C.7. Defining North America. Debate time 4 min.
C.8. Retrospective Improvement Pt. 1. Debate time 8 min.
C.9. Retrospective Improvement Pt. 2. Debate time 8 min.
C.10. Universal Suffrage. Debate time 8 min.
C.11. Young Adult Award. Debate time 20 min. Amendment C.11.1 Clean up amendment. Debate time 4 min in addition to the 20 min.
C.12. Motion to suspend 5 and 6 for one year. Debate time 10 min. POSTPONED to Saturday.

New Constitutional Amendments

D.1. What Our Marks Really Are. Debate time 4 min.
D.2. The Reasonable Amendment. Debate time 4 min.
D.3. Make Room! Make Room! Debate time 6 min.
D.4. Name That Award (Naming the YA Award). Debate time 16 min. SCHEDULED to come up after C.11 and only if C.11 ratified, with the assumption that nominations for the name will come up then, with voting on the proposals the next day.
D.5. Requiring Electronic Payments. KILLED by postpone indefinitely.
D.6/D.7/D.8 (Hugo Category Change proposals). REFERRED to Hugo Award Study Committee. HASC to report to Friday meeting with a recommendation. Expect HASC to recommend that the proposals all be sent back to HASC for further study.

No Committee Reports were received. We ran completely out of time. Nominations were received for the WSFS Mark Protection Committee; election for the 3 positions (4 candidates) will be at the start of the Friday meeting. Committee reports are included in the agenda.
kevin_standlee: (Worldcon 75)
2017-08-09 10:23 pm

Worldcon 75 Day 1: And This Was Supposed to be the Easy Day

Worldcon 75 is up and running at a flat-out run. There are thousands of members on site already. I was surprised at how well the registration queues ran, but also worried about the huge queues in the halls of people trying to get into programming rooms. There is nowhere near enough programming space for the number of people wanting to attend panels.

Welcome to Worldcon )

After breakfast, Lisa and I and Don Eastlake (WSFS Deputy Chair) went to check out Room 208 where the WSFS Business Meeting was to be. The room was... suboptimal.

Room Reset )

My biggest worry is not having enough room. There are by my count just over 230 seats in this room. The rated capacity is 280 people, which means we have a bit of standing room possible. But we can't exceed that, and we can't turn people away. Every attending WSFS member has to have the right to attend. If we get over capacity, we'll have to suspend the meeting, work with Programming, and make enormous and expensive changes. I have to hope that we don't go into overflow, because it's going to be a real mess otherwise.

Opening Ceremony )

After the Opening Ceremony, I chased down the Gavel of WSFS, which I need for my WSFS functions, then went off to the panel and meeting on which I was scheduled. That was a panel about getting the most out of the Business Meeting. I've been on this panel and variants of it for years. We had more people at this one than at the last four combined, most of whom had never attended it. I had a lot of fun demonstrating how bits of the Business Meeting worked.

After the panel, I swam through the packed hallways to the WSFS Mark Protection Committee meeting. There are 15 MPC members, and we were lucky that 8 members made it to the meeting so we actually had a quorum. The meeting was, however, relatively short before we adjourned so that Linda Deneroff could head off to the Ghost Tour for which she'd signed up.

Errands and a bit of tram-spotting )

Lisa was still feeling ill and had gone to bed early when I got back to the hotel. I went off to find dinner. Coming across Linda Deneroff, who also wanted dinner, we first checked out the locations in the convention center, but they were all closed, and all of the functions were shutting down. The hotel restaurant was overloaded. I suggested we try downtown Helsinki, so we headed there. Having the transit passes helps. Frequent trains and a five-minute train ride make this even easier. Linda and I had a pasta dinner, and I brought leftovers back to the hotel room in case Lisa wanted to have anything, but she was asleep, so I put it in the 'fridge, which is now full.

I went back downstairs to see if there was anything interesting. There is almost no way of doing convention parties in the way we're accustomed to doing in North America, and there wasn't enven a "Fan Village" like London did. There was one large space in the hotel where New Zealand in 2020 was hosting a party at one end with Finnish Fandom hosting at the other end. I did not stay long. I have to be up early enough to be at Room 208 for 9 AM to make sure everything is set up properly.

As I said, the convention already has huge attendance. Goodness knows what's going to happen tomorrow.
kevin_standlee: (WSFS Logo)
2017-08-03 08:43 am

Worldcon Chairs Photo Shoot

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: (Business Meeting)
2017-07-31 03:40 pm

Nearly Final

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: (Business Meeting)
2017-07-25 05:06 pm
Entry tags:

How I'll Be Spending My Worldcon

It does appear that as the deadline for submitting new business for this year's Worldcon (14 days before the first Business Meeting on August 10) nears, people are continuing to send in new proposals. By my count, there are currently 25 proposals in our hopper, and there are new ones that either just arrived today or are promised to arrive by Deadline day.

We have meetings scheduled thus:

Thursday, Friday, Saturday: 3 hours each
Sunday: 5 hours

Note further than those first three meetings really need to be adjourn 15 minutes before the scheduled slot end in order to clear the room for the following items.

Thus we have somewhere between 10 and 13 hours to cover all of this business. I am starting to think that we may not cover it all, even running for many hours on Sunday!

Personally, I'm thinking of submitting a proposal for next year's meeting (where I'm not presiding) to advance the deadline for submitting new business from 14 to 30 days prior to the first Business Meeting. If the workload continues to increase, and if, as seems likely, the members want to make the Secretary responsible for doing all of the logistics of printing and distributing the agendas for them, they need to give the Secretary more time do get it arranged. Furthermore, it's unreasonable to effectively insist that the Secretary sit at home at their computer until the day before the Worldcon in order to deal with this flood of business.

This year's Secretary has already started her European trip (and I see elsewhere that her travels have already gone awry). I know that she'll manage to get all of this late business sorted, but I was prepared to rule that anyone who didn't submit before she left for Europe would be required to abide by the default rule and make their own copies and deliver them personally to the meeting.
kevin_standlee: (Fernley)
2017-07-21 12:01 pm

Local Politics

As is our wont, Lisa and I went to the local Fire Board meeting. The first part was nice: the district holding "badging" ceremonies for the newest fire-fighter to pass his probationary period, followed by the formal badging of the department's first-ever captains. They managed to figure out how to budget for three captains so that the Chief didn't have something like thirty direct reports (an untenable situation IMO). After the ceremonial stuff, which ended up delaying the start of real business for close to an hour, they got down to work. But the Main Event item was being presented by one of the more boring people I've met, and even though he admitted up front that he "talks in circles," the Chair of the meeting didn't tell him to get to the point when he rambled along. After nearly an hour of this rambling, abetted by the board members failing to stay on point themselves, and everyone simply repeating the arguments over and over again, Lisa and I gave up and went home. This is too bad because there were other things on the agenda about which we were interested, but at that point it looked as though they were going to be there all night arguing about whether to grant the local raceway a permit to hold a "fire lantern" festival.

My hours don't allow me to stay up late on weeknights. We walked home and I went to bed, possibly going to sleep faster by envisioning the ongoing drone of repetitive debate.

When I preside over the Business Meeting, if a speaker is going in circles, I've been known to intervene and say something like, "Could the member come to a point?"

It was the meeting-induced sleep that led to me not posting anything yesterday, which is a rarity for me because I do try to post something daily if I get a chance.
kevin_standlee: (Business Meeting)
2017-07-19 11:21 am

2017 WSFS Business Meeting Staff

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)
2017-07-18 07:32 pm

Westercon Business Page Updated

Linda Deneroff has completed the minutes of the Westercon 70 Business Meeting and the updated for 2017-18 (thus for Westercon 71) version of the Westercon Bylaws & Standing Rules. We've updated the Westercon Business Page with the latest versions of the documents and "demoted" last year's information to the "Past Papers" version of the site.
kevin_standlee: (Business Meeting)
2017-07-14 04:10 pm

Westercon 70 Business Meeting Video

Because no substantive business other than the initial Westercon 72 presentation happened at the Westercon 70 Business Meeting, I did not rush to get it online. Also, we were using it to test settings on the P2 camera and with the Adobe Premiere software. Compile time was pretty good (about ten minutes for a six minute video), but the resultant file (750 MB) took many hours to upload. (My upload speed at home is only about 0.5 mbps.) On the other hand, the video quality seems pretty good. In addition, we're really happy with the audio quality, given that all we had was the inboard microphone since there were no microphones in the meeting room.

kevin_standlee: (SMOF Zone)
2017-07-12 05:29 pm

Grinding Ballots

I was obliged to take over as Emergency Holographic Site Selection Administration in Tempe when Ben Yalow had to rush home due to an potential break-in at his house. (Fortunately, either it was a false alarm or the alarm scared the intruder off.) That meant that when the procedural motion "That the ballots be destroyed" passed (nominally the point where it's impossibly to challenge the results), it fell to me (as Business Meeting Chair) to tell me (as Site Selection Administrator) to deal with the destruction of the ballots.

As it happens, I simply didn't have time to deal with this and ended up carrying the ballots home with me. This afternoon, I finally had the time to feed the ballots into the shredder. Done.
kevin_standlee: (Gavel of WSFS)
2017-05-18 04:21 pm

2017 Business Meeting Pages Online

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)
2017-05-16 04:39 pm

You'd Think I'd Remember These Things

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)
2017-04-23 12:55 pm

YA Award Proposal Naming: Rethinking Scope of Change

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.