kevin_standlee: (Business Meeting)
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)
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)
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: (Business Meeting)
I note that when the Vice President had to use his casting vote in the US Senate today to confirm a Secretary of Education who I don't think in her heart believes in the concept of universal public education, there was someone standing there with a cue card for him. My guess is that the VP knows so little about this "presiding officer" stuff that the Senate Parliamentarian had to write it all out for him to read off a card.

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

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

An Example of Evading the Issue )

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




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

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

Further Discussion of the reasoning )

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

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

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

Cut for Those Allergic to Parliamentary Procedure )

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



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

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

Technical Background )

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

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

Closing Time )

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

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

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

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


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



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

The Business Meeting adjourned sine die about 12:45.

But Wait, There's More! )

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

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

Tearing It Down )

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

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

Getting Ready to Argue Hugo Rules )

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



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

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

In The Exhibit Hall )

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

Stressful Hugo Awards Coverage )

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

The View from the Videography Desk )

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

Business Summary )

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

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

Opening Day )

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

Wednesday Night in the Fan Fair )

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Deadlines are looming, or overdue in some cases. However, in a few hours we can stop looking for new WSFS Business Meeting items, for that deadline will have passed, and given how many things have already been submitted, I doubt there will be any stomach for allowing any late submissions to make the agenda.
kevin_standlee: (Hugo Logo)
I anticipate that Lisa will want me to submit the Additional Finalists proposal to MidAmeriCon II soon, once she's had a chance to make a final review of it, which (now that I'm home for this week) might be as early as today. If you have further comments or want to be listed as a co-sponsor, now is the last chance to speak up before the Business Meeting this year.

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