Updated MidAmeriCon II Business Meeting Agenda

Jared Dashoff, MidAmeriCon II business meeting chair, has released a new version of the agenda, including Lisa Hayes’ motion, 3SV and its various parts, and EPH+. Download the PDF file from the MACII website.

There’s Business Passed on to MidAmeriCon II by Chicon 7 and Sasquan

The following item was ratified at Chicon 7 in 2012 and must be re-ratified by MidAmeriCon II in 2016 in order to remain part of the Worldcon Constitution.

  • A.1 Short Title: Best Fancast

The following Constitutional Amendments were approved at Sasquan in 2015 and passed on to MidAmeriCon II for ratification. If ratified, they will become part of the Constitution at the conclusion of MidAmeriCon II.

  • A.2 Short Title: The Five Percent Solution
  • A.3 Short Title: Multiple Nominations
  • A.4 Short Title: Nominee Diversity
  • A.5 Short Title: Electronic Signatures
  • A.7 Short Title: E Pluribus Hugo
  • A.6 Short Title: 4 and 6

And there’s the submission text of newly proposed WSFS Consitution rules changes, drafts of which have been posted on File 770 over the past few weeks.

Best Series (page 8)

  • Proposed by: Series Hugo Committee

December Is Good Enough (page 9)

  • Proposed by: Colette Fozard, Warren Buff, Nicholas Whyte

Two Years Are Enough (page 9)

  • Proposed by: Warren Buff, Colin Harris

Three Stage Voting (3SV), Or “The Only Winning Move Is Not to Play” (page 10)

  • Proposed by: Colin Harris, Kevin Standlee, Nicholas Whyte, Colette Fozard, Warr en Buff

Additional Finalists (page 13)

  • Moved by: Lisa Hayes, Lisa Deutsch Harrigan, David Wallace

EPH+ (page 14)

  • Proposed by: Jameson Quinn, Claudia Beach, Bonnie Warford, Catherine Faber, Andrew Hickey, Rogers Cadenhead, David Goldfarb, Lee Egger, Tasha Turner Lennhoff, Steven Halter, David Wallace, Oskari Rantala.

Sasquan Financial Report

The latest update to the MidAmeriCon II Business Meeting Agenda includes the financial report from Sasquan, the 2015 Worldcon. (See pages 22-33.)

SUMMARY

Total Income $1,269,690.24
Total Expense ($1,089,320.76)
Net Surplus $180,369.48

The expenses include discretionary reimbursements for program participant memberships and committee meeting costs that collectively amount to slightly more than the declared surplus, which shows that Sasquan did very well.

Sasquan’s report also includes a summary of the amounts spent on each specific Guest of Honor, which I’ve never noticed in one of these reports before (although I’ve never gone looking for it either, so I don’t know whether this is a true first.)

The report also summarizes donations made from the surplus:

Post-Convention Distributions/Grants

Lucy Huntzinger, DUFF Donation $2,000.00
ASFA Donation $2,500.00
Bill Burns, Efanzines Donation $1,000.00
MACII, grant for NASA related costs $5,000.00
2 SMOFCon Scholarships $4,000.00
Worldcon History Organization $5,000.00
Con or Bust Donation $2,000.00
Int’l Costumers Guild Donation $5,000.00
TAFF $2,000.00
Space Agency Fan Fund $15,000.00
FANAC.org $1,000.00
Westercon 69 $5,000.00
Westercon 70 $5,000.00
Total $54,500.00

Just A Few More Hours To Vote on Hugos

Time is running out to vote online or make last-minute changes to your Hugo ballot.

Hugo Voting Closes Sunday July 31 at 11:59 PM PDT

You will need your membership number and PIN.

The Hugo Administrators warn that the website will be quite busy as the deadline approaches. They plead, “Don’t wait until the very end or you may encounter delays that could keep some or all of your choices from being properly recorded.”

They also say that the system will automatically send voters an email confirmation of your ballot. However: “When many people are voting at the same time these email confirmations get backed up and may arrive delayed, out of order, or not at all. But don’t worry – your votes have been recorded.”

The Hugo Voter Packets for both the 2016 Hugo  and 1941 Retro Hugo works will remain accessible by Worldcon members until voting closes.

Additional Finalists Hugo Proposal

Lisa Hayes’ “Additional Finalists” Hugo Award proposal has been submitted for inclusion on the Worldcon Business Meeting agenda.

Short Title: Additional Finalists

Moved, to amend the WSFS Constitution for the purpose of allowing the Committee to add up to two additional finalists to each Hugo Award category, by adding a new section after existing Section 3.8 as follows:

Section 3.X: Additional Finalists. The Worldcon Committee may add not more than two additional finalists in each category, provided that such additional finalists would qualify to be in the list of nominees described in Section 3.11.4.

Moved by: Lisa Hayes, Lisa Deutsch Harrigan, David Wallace

See supporting commentary here.

[Thanks to Kevin Standlee for the story.]

Remember: August 6 Is Worldcon, NASFiC Site Selection Mail Voting Deadline

If you’re planning to vote in 2018 Worldcon or 2017 NASFiC Site Selection by mail, now would be a good time to get moving.

Votes must be cast using paper ballots, either by mail or at MidAmeriCon II. Mail ballots must be received by Saturday, August 6.

However, it is possible to pay for voting memberships online (as discussed below.)

Complete details are available here.

2018 WORLDCON SITE SELECTION

There are two bids, one to host the convention in New Orleans, LA, the other in San Jose, CA.

To vote —

  1. You must be a member of MidAmeriCon II.
  2. You must pay an Advance Supporting Membership (Voting) Fee of $40.

Either send with your ballot a 40 check to “76th Worldcon” or buy an “Advance Supporting Membership” online

  1. Download, print, and fill our your site selection ballot
  2. Mail your ballot to:

MidAmeriCon II Site Selection

5115 Excelsior Blvd #474

St Louis Park, MN

55416-2906

The ballot receipt deadline is August 6, 2016

At-Con Voting. Voting continues at MidAmeriCon II until 6 p.m. CDT on Friday, August 19, 2016. If you delegate someone to hand-carry your ballot, please either purchase your Advance Supporting Membership fee online, or give your voting agent funds to pay for it.

2018 Worldcon Membership. The “Advance Supporting Membership” fee is a 2018 World Science Fiction Society membership, and a supporting membership in the winner of the 2018 election. Voters will receive a Supporting Membership in New Orleans or in San Jose, whichever bid wins.

2017 NASFiC SITE SELECTION

When the Worldcon is held outside North America (next year it will be in Finland), the organization also holds a North American Science Fiction Convention (NASFiC).

There are bids to hold the 2017 NASFiC in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and Valley Forge, PA.

To vote –

  1. You must be a member of MidAmeriCon II.
  2. You must pay an Advance Supporting Membership (Voting) Fee of $35.

Either send a check or money order for $35in U.S. funds, payable to “2017 NASFiC,” with your ballot, or buy a 2017 NASFiC “Advance Supporting Membership” online.

  1. Download, print, and fill our your site selection ballot
  2. Mail your ballot to:

MidAmeriCon II Site Selection

5115 Excelsior Blvd #474

St Louis Park, MN 55416-2906

The ballot receipt deadline is August 6, 2016

At-Con Voting. Voting continues at MidAmeriCon II until 6 p.m. CDT on Friday, August 19, 2016. If you delegate someone to hand-carry your ballot, please either purchase your Advance Supporting Membership fee online, or give your voting agent funds to pay for it.

2017 NASFiC Membership. The “Advance Supporting Membership” fee is a 2017 NASFiC membership, and a supporting membership in the winner of the 2017 election. Voters will receive a Supporting Membership in San Juan or Valley Forge, whichever bid wins.

 

I Go, Hugo, We All Go, to the MACII Business Meeting

By Jameson Quinn: As discussed in previous threads such as this one, I and others will be making an EPH+ proposal to the Business Meeting; and so I was running a fundraiser so that I could be there to help explain it.

The good news is that fundraiser has reached its goal. Yay! I’ll see you all there! Thank you to everyone who’s supported it so far. But the fundraiser is not over.

Jameson Quinn

Jameson Quinn

I have been working on these issues, unpaid, off and on since early last year. I’m doing that partly because I have always been a fan, though not prior to this a congoing fan. But my main motivation is just that I’ve devoted a nontrivial part of my life to thinking about better voting systems, and I see this as an opportunity to use that knowledge while helping educate people about the advantages such systems offer.

So, like my own involvement in this issue, my fundraiser is not merely for myself. I’m raising funds for the Center for Election Science (electology.org), and all donations are tax-deductible in the US. As an organization, we do education, research, consulting, and advocacy around issues of voting systems; that is, exactly the same kinds of work I’ve been doing with EPH and the Hugos. With the support this community has given so far, I’ll be able to be there at MAC II; but if you can give us more support, we can do more.

It doesn’t take more than a glance at the newspaper these days to see the fallout of poor election systems. I’ll discuss a few examples here, to help show what good systems have to offer. Let me begin by saying that the CES is a nonpartisan organization. I’m going to speak not as a voter with my own personal point of view on these matters, but as a voting system designer, in the faith that societies and organizations should be free to make their decisions democratically and that such democratic decision-making is the most sustainable, if not always the fastest, way to come to the correct decisions.

  • In the UK, a momentary bare majority managed to take a decision whose impact will last decades. Of course, every decision has impacts, and from a long term perspective every majority is temporary; but from my point of view as an election theorist, asymmetrical decisions like Brexit should require a supermajority. There were at least two asymmetries in this case. First, you can tear up a treaty any time, but once you’ve shredded it, it’s much harder to tape it back together. And second, the consequences of a “remain” vote were relatively clear, but the very meaning of a “leave” vote was quite vague, allowing a situation where there were groups of “leave” voters with entirely contradictory visions of what the post-Brexit relationship with Europe should be.In light of those asymmetries, the “Brexit” referendum should not have been symmetrical between yes and no. A “yes” result should have taken more than a “no” result. That could have taken the form of a supermajority requirement, but the problem with that is, any such requirement is essentially arbitrary. A better way to do it would be to have required two consecutive results in order to leave, with some time for deliberation in between.
  • In the US Democratic party, there was a tough battle between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton. Clinton won, and a key factor in that victory was her strong support from African-American voters, a cornerstone constituency of the party. Yet because of an antiquated primary election schedule, most of the early campaign for both Sanders and Clinton had focused on two of the Whitest states in the country: Iowa and New Hampshire. I believe both of the candidates would have been better served by a schedule where the initial states looked more like the country as a whole, especially in terms of the demographics of the Democrats.
  • Meanwhile, on the Republican side, Donald Trump won the nomination despite getting a minority of votes in the primary contests. Because the primaries used vote-for-one plurality, his numerous opponents split the vote, allowing his minority support to put him into the a clear lead from the start. If the primary elections and polls had been run using a better system such as approval voting, the anti-Trump voters would have had a much easier time showing their strength. We can’t know for certain who would have won under such a system; some might argue it still would have been Trump. But if it were, he would have had to win by uniting Republicans behind him, not just by dividing his opposition.
  • Elsewhere in the news, we see repeated terrorist attacks in various countries; and many of the attackers are affiliated with or claimed by ISIS/Daesh. ISIS arose in Iraq, in the power vacuum left after George Bush toppled Saddam Hussein. And George Bush would almost certainly never have become president in 2001 if it hadn’t been for the broken election system in Florida, where he got a minority of votes but still took the state’s electoral support. In this case, it’s pretty clear that under approval voting, things would have gone differently; if third-party voters had been able to support both their favorite candidate and a backup compromise, all evidence suggests that the minority Bush got would not have been enough to win the state.
  • (Bear with me for one last “river city” transition.) We recently saw a failed coup in Turkey, in which elements of a more-secular military tried to take the country from a democratically-elected Islamist president. This echoes the successful coup in 2013 in Egypt, in which Islamist president Morsi was overthrown by military strongman el-Sisi. Morsi was the only democratically elected president in Egypt’s history. But tragically, Morsi, like Bush, had won despite the fact that most of the country voted against him; and this “unpopular mandate” is arguably a large part of what led to the coup. His initial win was a two-round election. In the first round, there were several candidates: two Islamists (Morsi and Fotouh), a representative of the military and old guard (Shafik), and two more-secular reformers (Sabahi and Moussa). Morsi and Shafik were the top two in that round, and so, despite the fact that their combined total was under 50%, they faced each other in the runoff, with no reformist option on that second ballot. Though opinion polls in this situation were unreliable, all the two-way polls we have that matched either Morsi or Shafik against a reformer show that a reformer could have won if they’d made it to a runoff! And the reformist candidates’ combined total in the first round easily surpassed either of the individual totals of the two who did progress. Thus, it seems very plausible that a better voting system (such as approval with runoff, or majority judgment) could have avoided the situation that led to the Egyptian coup in the first place.

I don’t want to spark a thread of political debate — there are other blogs for that. But I hope I’ve made my point that election system reform is not just for the Hugos. In many countries, and especially here in the US, polls show satisfaction with available the political options at an all-time low, but across most of the English-speaking world we use plurality voting, a horrible system which is structured so as to blunt the incentives for the existing parties, or the ability of new parties, to viably offer new ideas. If you care about breaking this stalemate, you care about election systems, and electology.org deserves your support through my fundraiser. Or, sign up for our newsletter to learn more about how we’re working on this problem.

My original budget for going to the con was $1400, including membership, train fare (I prefer trains over airplanes to save on CO?), lodging, expenses, and youcaring’s small crowdfunding fees. I lowered that to $1300 in order to help get the fundraiser over the top. But really, I’d like to see this pass $2000, so please, if you can, support us. Frankly, the CES needs the money, as we testify before legislatures, attend other conventions and run straw polls, engage with media and produce educational materials, carry out research, work on software tools, consult with awards organizations such as the Hugos and Webbys, and other activities. Our Executive Director is committed to the cause and draws low wages, but I know for a fact there’s at least one other charity that wants to steal him from us at higher wages, so we really need to begin paying him a larger fraction of what he’s worth.

Hugo Voting Rules Proposals Sponsored By Harris, Buff, Standlee, Others

Mini Hugo rocket carried into space and photgraphed by astronaut Kjell Lindgren in 2015.

Mini Hugo rocket carried into space and photgraphed by astronaut Kjell Lindgren in 2015.

Apart from the discussions Jameson Quinn has been leading here, another group of fans has been working on ideas for reforming the Hugo voting process. Yesterday they published the drafts of their three main motions and an amendment to EPH (given its first passage last year) as a Google document.

The three main motions do these things:

(1) Change the deadline you must be a Worldcon member to be eligible to nominate from January 31 to December 31 of the previous year.

(2) Restrict eligibility to nominate to members of the current and preceding Worldcon.

(3) Add a second round that allows members to vote out something that makes the initial long list (“Three Stage Voting”).

Colin Harris (co-chair of the 2005 Worldcon), Warren Buff, Kevin Standlee (co-chair of the 2002 Worldcon), Nicholas Whyte, and Colette Fozard each sponsor at least one of the several motions. Harris explains:

We plan to submit the motions officially in about a week; we are publishing them now to encourage discussion, rather than because we expect to change the text — but of course if people point out important things we’ve missed, we’ll take the opportunity to fix any issues.

Commenting specifically about the Three-Stage-Voting proposal, Harris says:

To be clear, my stance as the main mover on 3SV is simple. I wish this change was not necessary, but I believe that EPH and the other proposals already in hand will not achieve the necessary outcomes. In particular, I believe that guaranteeing a couple of broadly acceptable finalists per category is simply not a high enough bar for “success” in restoring the integrity, reputation and stability of the awards. I do not know if 3SV will pass, but I believe that the Business Meeting should have the opportunity to discuss this more direct option for tackling manipulation of the nomination process.

The text of the proposals follows the jump.

Continue reading

The Official 2016 Hugo Awards Two-Week Deadline Warning

MidAmeriCon II reminded members today that they only have two weeks left to vote for the 2016 Hugo Awards and 1941 Retro Hugo Awards. The deadline for both is Sunday, July 31, 2016 at 11:59 PM PDT.

Online voting forms and Voter Packet downloads for both sets of awards are located here.

Hugo Administrators Dave McCarty & Will Frank say “We encourage members not to wait until the last minute to file their Hugo ballots. The servers can become overloaded and this can sometimes cause difficulty getting all of your rankings saved before the ballot deadline.”

Since members can revise their ballots up to the deadline, they can choose to immediately fill in what they’ve already decided, then come back to add or change things later.

Oshiro Recruited To MAC II Incident Response Team

Mark Oshiro (Mark Watches Star Trek) announced on Facebook he will be a member of MidAmeriCon II’s Incident Response Team, which responds to code of conduct violations, or people’s other problems with members of the con.

I am the Deputy of the Incident Response Team, working under our team Head Kris ‘Nchanter’ Snyder and Jesi Pershing, who is head of the Member Services Division. Both of them approached me to work with the Incident Response Team, and I am pleased that I’ll be able to help out on a necessary are…a of the convention.

What is the Incident Response Team, you may ask? Well, the entire group of us (and our committee is listed in full at this link: https://midamericon2.org/general-informat/committee-list/) will be on-site at the con itself. There’s a longer description of the IRT at this link: https://midamericon2.org/incident-response-team/. In short, we are responsible for responding to incidents and situations at the convention that involve member behavior, especially in relation to violations of the convention’s Code of Conduct. It’s something I’ve wanted to do more with at cons, and I’m thrilled that I get to work with the entire Incident Response Team to help make MidAmeriCon II the best convention possible.

The team is led by Kris ‘Nchanter’ Snyder, with Mark Oshiro as Deputy, and Staff members Anna Bradley, Jaime Garmendia, Kris Pelletier, Summer Plum, Kate Secor, Pam Burr, John T. Sapienza, Jr., and Liz Gilio.

MACII has posted an explanation of its Incident Report Process for members and staff. The portion for members reads —

So you have a problem at the convention, what should you do?

If you’re having an issue, come to Con HQ, flag down one of our rovers, or call HQ (number will be provided before the convention) and we will be happy to help!

If your issue is with another member of the convention, you will be handed off to our incident response team, to discuss your experience and decide if you would like to make a report.

We will make a written report, and ask you for the details needed to understand and resolve the problem or prevent further harm.  If you give us your name and contact information, we will follow up with you as needed, but we also will accept anonymous reports.

We will tell you what our next steps will be and further action(s) to be taken, if any. If you request, we will follow up with you and let you know the outcome of our actions.

If other people are named in the complaint, they will be told that there is a complaint against them, but if the reporter wishes to remain anonymous, the identity of the person making the report will not be named.

Oshiro’s participation is one way in which MACII is leveling up, having fallen under a shadow cast by a local KC convention.

Last year Oshiro was ConQuesT’s Fan Guest of Honor. He publicly aired on Facebook his grievances about the racism, sexual harassment, and abuse he experienced there, saying that working within the con’s complaint process produced no action. Several of those giving rise to the grievances apologized online after he spoke out. The fact that he’s working another con in KC may be a sign of reconciliation.

The two-time Hugo nominated fanwriter (Mark Watches Star Trek) attended his first Worldcon in 2013.

1941 Retro Hugo Finalist Review Roundup

Roundup 1941 CROP

Curated by JJ: [Quoting from JJ’s explanation of the 2016 Hugo Finalist Review Roundup.]  …I tried to select both positive and negative reviews, from a wide selection of reviewers, which were substantive and actually provided analysis of and commentary on the story, rather than merely summarizing the plot.

…Be Aware that many of these Reviews contain Spoilers!!! Don’t click on them if you don’t want to be Spoiled!

Each category begins with links to articles that review all the nominees collectively, and follows with links to single-story reviews.

Retro Novel

Gray Lensman by E.E. “Doc” Smith (Astounding Science-Fiction, Jan 1940)

The Ill-Made Knight by T.H. White (Collins)

Kallocain by Karin Boye (Bonnier)

The Reign of Wizardry by Jack Williamson (Unknown, Mar 1940)

Slan by A.E. Van Vogt (Astounding Science-Fiction, Dec 1940)

Retro Novella

“Coventry” by Robert A. Heinlein (Astounding Science-Fiction, July 1940)

“If This Goes On…” by Robert A. Heinlein (Astounding Science-Fiction, Feb 1940)

“Magic, Inc.” by Robert A. Heinlein (Unknown, Sept 1940)

“The Mathematics of Magic” by L. Sprague de Camp and Fletcher Pratt (Unknown, Aug 1940)

“The Roaring Trumpet” by L. Sprague de Camp and Fletcher Pratt (Unknown, May 1940)

Retro Novelette

“Blowups Happen” by Robert A. Heinlein (Astounding Science-Fiction, Sept 1940)

“Farewell to the Master” by Harry Bates (Astounding Science-Fiction, Oct 1940)

“It!” by Theodore Sturgeon (Unknown, Aug 1940)

“The Roads Must Roll” by Robert A. Heinlein (Astounding Science-Fiction, June 1940)

“Vault of the Beast” by A.E. Van Vogt (Astounding Science-Fiction, August 1940)

Retro Short Story

“Martian Quest” by Leigh Brackett (Astounding Science-Fiction, Feb 1940)

“Requiem” by Robert A. Heinlein (Astounding Science-Fiction, Jan 1940)

“Robbie” by Isaac Asimov (Super Science Stories, Sept 1940)

“The Stellar Legion” by Leigh Brackett (Planet Stories, Winter 1940)

“Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius” by Jorge Luis Borges (Sur, 1940)