kevin_standlee: (Hugo Logo)
During the "Friends Don't Let Friends Run Worldcons" panel, the plaque that was presented during the Hugo Awards last night was brought in because Kent Bloom and Mary Morman, as part of the Worldcon History Project, were taking responsibility for it.

Official Notice from Guinness Book )

I think this is a pretty cool thing, and I'm happy that Worldcon 75 was able to arrange with Guinness Book to get this presentation done here at Helsinki.
kevin_standlee: (Hugo Trophy)
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: (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.
kevin_standlee: (Hugo Logo)
And here's a bit of commentary from this year's Hugo Award lead administrator, [livejournal.com profile] nwhyte

kevin_standlee: (Hugo Logo)
So today was Hugo Awards Finalist Announcement Day. For reasons I understand, Worldcon 75 chose to drop the announcement at 07:00 Pacific Time, which for me personally is one of the worst times of the day due to peak activity at Day Jobbe. Fortunately, Cheryl was at home today and was in a position to get what we did receive posted.

Unfortunately, there was some sort of glitch that meant that the Hugo Awards Marketing Committee did not get an embargoed copy of the finalist list in advance. This meant that while we were able to post the YouTube video of the announcement soon after it posted, and were able to retweet the Twitter posts by each category, there was a bit of a delay while Cheryl updated the 2017 Hugo Awards page with this year's finalists. It got done, but it was a bit frustrating to have so many other news sources (which presumably got the embargoed results in advance) out there ahead of what is supposed to be the Official Hugo Awards Web Site itself.
kevin_standlee: (Hugo Sign)
Although Lisa was not planning on nominating very much for this year's Hugo Awards, because she has not seen or read very much, she was nevertheless quite disappointed to receive today her copy of the 2017 Hugo Awards ballot, mailed with her progress report from Helsinki on February 13. I assume that Worldcon 75 did not make arrangements for mailing from the US as some past non-US Worldcons have done. In any case, it's too late. There is no way Lisa could have filled out a ballot and got it in the mail fast enough to make the deadline, which is Friday. And no, she won't fill out a ballot online, on principle. Besides, because she doesn't have e-mail, the only way she could have done an online ballot would have been to read her choices to me for me to fill in to a ballot on her behalf.

If the stats come back with an announcement that "there were no paper ballots," this mailing schedule might be the reason why.
kevin_standlee: (Hugo Logo)
Last night the Hugo Awards/WSFS web sites got a brief flurry of questions about an author describing himself as a "Hugo Award nominee" and asking for clarification about the term. No work by the author in question has been shortlisted for the Hugo Award. Whether the author received at least one nomination for a Hugo Award is not something that can be proved or disproved, inasmuch as Administrators do not release individual nominations, only those works/people placing in the top 15 positions. The particularly claimed work didn't make the "We Also Heard From" list.

Complicating matters were claims that someone from the "Worldcon PR Department" had sent e-mail confirming the "nomination." Well, there is no such thing as a "Worldcon PR Department," the e-mail came from an address that is now shown as invalid, was signed by someone who has never to my knowledge (which is rather extensive) been involved with administering any Hugo Awards and is certainly not a member of the WSFS Mark Protection Committee and the Hugo Awards Marketing Committee. (HAMC could at least conceivably be misinterpreted to be the "Worldcon Marketing Department" by people unfamiliar with how Worldcons, WSFS, and the Hugo Awards work.) The e-mails also had references to "worldcom.org" which is an organization that has nothing to do with WSFS or with the World Science Fiction Convention.

I answered the e-mails (one of which was from the author in question), and after doing so, posted a clarification post to the Hugo Awards web site. (This post was also there to try and confirm that e-mails from me are actually from one of the few people who actually is authorized to speak officially on behalf of WSFS and The Hugo Awards web sites.)

Colloquial usage (and official usage until recently) used the term "Hugo Award nominee" to mean "a person or work that appeared on the final Hugo Award ballot." However, a few years ago, some people started calling themselves "Hugo Award nominees" because a single person nominated them for the Award. Such claims generally were made by people who knew the Hugo Award was prestigious, but who had no idea how it worked. (I suspect many such people assumed that there was a Select Group of Judges who made the decisions.) I tried for a while to respond to such claims, but mostly got abuse for my trouble, as people informed me that the "plain meaning" of "nominee" included "anyone who received even one nomination." While technically true, it certainly subverted the intent of the term "nominee" as used at that time. Furthermore, we saw news reports taking such claims at face value, with reporters not particularly interested in any sort of nuance. After all, if you're "nominated" for the Academy Award, that means you're on the short list. Presumably it means the same thing with the Hugo Awards, right?

Reacting to this abuse of terminology, WSFS a few years ago officially deprecated the term "nominee," except in a very narrow technical sense dealing with the counting of nomination votes and the determination of eligibility. The official term for a person or work shortlisted for the Hugo Award is "Hugo Award Finalist." This can be objectively determined, of course, and there is the actual list of finalists for each year on the Hugo Awards web site. The term "Hugo Award nominee" has no official meaning. Hundreds and probably thousands of people and works are "Hugo Award nominees" every year. It only takes one nomination to be a "Hugo Award nominee," and of course you can always nominate yourself. (No Administrator I know would ever want to have to enforce a restriction against self-nomination.) The WSFS Mark Protection Committee ignores claims regarding being a "Hugo Award nominee," because they have no official meaning. At best, they are overly enthusiastic reactions by authors to fans who really like those authors' works.

I suppose we should be grateful that the Hugo Awards have gained sufficiently in stature that someone saw value in pretending to be an official "PR Department" for the World Science Fiction Society. Nevertheless, it does feel somewhat strange to find people making such claims. Possibly there are people out there convinced that WSFS is a Big Media Corporation with lots of money and Big Bucks to be had. The reality, which is that there are a bunch of volunteers putting in lots of time and no small amounts of money, to put on an event and to help perpetuate an organization that they love, may be simply too difficult for some folks to comprehend.
kevin_standlee: (Hugo Trophy)
Today we learned of the death of Peter Weston, fan, Worldcon chair, Worldcon guest of honor, editor, writer, and of particular importance to the Hugo Awards, owner of a custom auto parts foundry in the 1980s, which led to him offering to make a mold for casting the Hugo Award trophy rockets. Every metal Hugo rocket since 1984 (normally chrome-plated zinc, but twice gold-plated) has been cast from the one mold held at the foundry, which Weston later sold upon retirement. (There have been non-metallic Hugo Rockets, but they reproduce the design.)

Pete was a nice person who I only met a few times, but I can say that fandom is diminished by his departure. However, every Hugo Award preserves his legacy, which was written in to the WSFS Constitution when we credited his specific implementation of the original McKnight/Jason design as the definitive version.
kevin_standlee: (OMG Puppies)
It's remarkable that so many people who insist, loudly and often, that the Hugo Awards are dead and have been for many years, spend so much effort trying to convince other people (but not themselves because they can't be bothered to buy a WSFS membership in order to vote) to participate in them. There are echos of the "Worldcon is doomed, doomed I tell you!" conversations that were old hat before I even found the convention in 1984.

Why don't these people who are so completely certain (or so they say) that the Hugo Awards are washed up, finished, dead, pushing up daisies, etc. concentrate on the awards that they so confidently insisted would overwhelm the entire field and be the One True Awards That Real Fans Give for Real Good Stuff So There Will Be No Need For Any Other Awards Ever Again? They seem pretty unhappy that the members of WSFS continue to hold their convention and present their awards just like they have been doing for many years, including arguing over the rules (which, for those who have been paying attention, was a running theme long before the Puppies showed up).

"Sad" is a good description for people for whom, as far as I can tell, think that the amount of happiness in the world is a finite quantity, so that the only way they can be happy is to make other people unhappy.
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: (OMG Puppies)
While stopping to pick up some groceries in Reno, I stumbled across something that certain participants in the Hugo Award Culture Wars appear have been very excited about. I took a picture to prove that they exist.

For Those Looking for 'Nutty Nuggets' )

And sure enough, it says so right on the label.
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: (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)
For some years now, the WSFS Mark Protection Committee has wanted to re-design the Worldcon, NASFiC, and WSFS web sites. The old sites were showing a great deal of age, and were generally quite difficult to update, requiring a small number of people with the necessary access to have the time to do the updates. This is no knock on those people (some of whom read this LJ), but having pinch points was a problem for us. However, the issues in getting the sites changed were many, mostly political more than technical, as study committee after working group tossed around their own ways of doing the One True Perfect In Every Way Web Site. There were also difficulties getting the domains untangled, as they'd been acquired by multiple well-meaning people, and it took several years to get them straightened out and under the control of officers of the WSFS Mark Protection Committee (which pays the bills, out of the small amount of money that Worldcon committees pay to fund the MPC).

During these years of wrangling over what to do about the Worldcon/WSFS/NASFiC sites, the MPC set up the Hugo Awards Marketing Committee, which was able to set up the Hugo Awards web site separately. Cheryl Morgan did the heavy lifting and set up the WordPress site that we've been using ever since. I do most of the maintenance these days, but multiple people in geographically dispersed areas have the keys to the site, so if I drop dead, other people will be able to keep things running.

The last straw in the Worldcon sites discussion came when George Mitchell, who had been hosting the sites for us for free since the 1990s, came to the WSFS Business Meeting in Spokane and said, roughly speaking, "It's time for you to leave." The WSFS MPC discharged the last vestige of the Worldcon Website Working Group (which had, thanks to Mike "Dr. Plokta" Scott, fixed the mess that was the domain registration) and authorized the Hugo Awards Marketing Committee to sort out a solution on the other sites.

A couple of months ago, Cheryl Morgan, with me consulting, but with her again doing the heavy lifting, built new sites for Worldcon, NASFiC, and WSFS, and we moved the actual hosting over to the same commercial service (Pair.com) we use for the Hugo Awards site.

All the sites intentionally share a family resemblance. All of them can be maintained by people who are not heavy duty HTML wizards. All of them have relatively simple graphics and structure. It's not flashy, but it's clean and I hope easy to use.

One issue though: The old site's file structure was a mess. I made the executive decision (so don't blame Cheryl) to let all of the old "deep links" to individual files on the old site break. So if you have a deep link to, say, the old versions of the WSFS Constitution or old WSFS minutes, those links have now broken in favor of the new structure. I'm sorry about that, but if we'd spent much more time trying to maintain the old structure and meet our mandate to migrate the site to the new servers this "WSFS year," it would not have gotten done.

An additional issue pointed out by Mike Glyer is that search engines still have the old (now broken) links in their cached searches. So until those links refresh, your web searches may lead you to a dead end. Rest assured, however, that the old files, particularly the various WSFS documents, are still on the site, just in a different location than they once were.

I've been wanting to get this redesign done since at least 2008, and I'm glad it's finally done. I'm also extremely grateful to Cheryl Morgan for doing the work and to the rest of the WSFS Mark Protection Committee for authorizing the Hugo Awards Marketing Committee to get the job done.
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: (Hugo Sign)
One of the three proposals related to the Hugo Awards I floated a while back would allow the current Worldcon Committee to add up to two additional finalist to the ballot. Lisa Hayes (my wife, who does not do e-mail or social media) would like to propose this. I drafted it for her and post it here. If you are a member of MidAmeriCon II, the 2016 Worldcon in Kansas City (either attending or supporting) and would like to co-sponsor this proposal, please let me know and I will pass it on to Lisa. She does need at least one other sponsor in order to introduce it to this year's Meeting.

(I personally am taking no position on this proposal. Any proposal that I co-sponsor this year and that passes necessarily requires me to recuse myself from presiding over its consideration next year in Helsinki. I offered my drafting skills to Lisa just as I did to other people this year on other proposals, not necessarily ones for which I will vote.)

She can't use the title I originally gave the proposal because one of the EPH-related proposals appears to be using approximately the same title, so we gave it the more prosaic name below.

Short Title: Additional Finalists )
kevin_standlee: (Reno)
Today, Lisa and I went to Reno to do errands at the bank, have brunch at the Peppermill, and get grocery shopping done to restock things for her while I'm away in the Bay Area for the next two weeks. To our surprise, we were attacked by a helicopter while at the Peppermill.

A Helicopter, You Say? )

Lisa was very happy to have had a chance to view the exhibits and talk with people at this event. It was a bit of letdown for her to have to leave and have us finish our shopping and go home, but it was still nice to have stumbled onto it in the first place.
kevin_standlee: (Hugo Logo)
File 770 last night published an article by me summarizing the three Hugo Award proposals that I've recently detailed here on my LiveJournal. Comments over there, or on the individual LJ items if you prefer, please.

I really hope that we will not see the quest for perfection defeat any attempts at incremental improvement, although in reading the debate on proposals, I am not confident. Of course, people commenting online aren't the same people as who will actually be voting on any concrete proposals presented to the WSFS Business Meeting.

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