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.

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Best Series Hugo Committee Report Online

The motion to add a Best Series Hugo, discussed on File 770 last year by its former title in “New Draft of Best Saga Proposal”, and the follow-up “Final Revision of Best Series Hugo Proposal Now Online”, was sent to committee by the 2015 Sasquan Business Meeting at the drafters’ request.

That committee has returned its report, which is available in the Agenda for the MidAmeriCon II Business Meeting.

Warren Buff, the committee chair, commented:

The report features a substantially revised motion from last year, although the numbers have remained the same.

We put this through the wringer, and believe that this is the best proposal we can assemble in terms of defining a series in a way that’s easily understood and balancing the issues inherent in a work that might never be completed, but is nonetheless meant to be enjoyed as a coherent whole. I won’t hold forth by copying the entire report, but will include the concluding paragraph:

“In our discussions, we have approached the topic from the perspectives of writers, editors, academics, Hugo Administrators, and fans who read series with varying degrees of enjoyment. This proposal does not represent everyone’s ideal take on how to recognize series, but instead the most viable compromise position we could reach, and we recommend its passage.”

The members of the committee are Warren Buff (chair), Jared Dashoff, Todd Dashoff, Eric Flint, Chris Gerrib, Tim Illingworth, Joshua Kronengold, Bill Lawhorn, Michael Lee, Simon Litten, Farah Mendlesohn, Mark Olson, Steve Saffel, Pablo Vazquez, Peter de Weerdt, Clark Wierda.

The full text of the report is here. Included are minority reports from Chris Gerrib and Joshua Kronengold containing their own recommended motions, and from Mark Olson, who thinks the category should not be added at all.

Program Participants Sought for FanHistoriCon 13

By Warren Buff:  RavenCon, April 29-May 1, 2016, in Williamsburg, Virginia, is hosting a FanHistoriCon.

FanHistoriCon is a convention (or a sometimes, a stream within a convention) dedicated to documenting and preserving the history of fandom. From 1994 to 2002, a dozen were held, along with additional programming at Aussiecon 3 and the Millennium Philcon. ?Since we keep making fanhistory, the need for a FanHistoriCon persists, and we’re hoping that holding one at RavenCon will help revive the concept.

We’d like to solicit ideas and recruit folks for the program. So far, we’ve got a few ideas kicking around:

  • a local fanhistory item on the Carolinas and Virginia
  • a session on next steps for documenting the 60s (Rich Lynch’s outline is fantastic on this so far)
  • a session on how to approach documenting the 70s, which seems both daunting and important because of the incredible expansion of fandom in that era
  • a session on the difficulties of documenting feuds and schisms (this has gotten significantly more important since we started kicking it around)
  • perhaps a session on the end of the APA era (only a bare handful remain out of what were once a major force in fandom, and documenting that transition seems important)
  • a session on oral history, and training folks in using widely available technology to take it (with follow-ups later of folks actually breaking off to take some oral history with those present, maybe after breakfast the next day)
  • sessions on identifying at-risk materials for preservation
  • sessions on identifying fans to interview/record for posterity

It’s a start, but we need more ideas, and we want to sign up folks to participate in these discussions. Memberships to RavenCon can be obtained at http://www.ravencon.com/registration/, and those with suggestions or interest in participation should contact Warren Buff at warrenmbuff@gmail.com.

Bruce Pelz, Harry Warner, Jr. and Peggy Rae Pavlat (Sapienza) at FanHistoriCon in 1994. Photo by Rich Lynch.

Bruce Pelz, Harry Warner, Jr. and Peggy Rae Pavlat (Sapienza) at FanHistoriCon in 1994. Photo by Rich Lynch.

DC Bids for 2017

The DC17 Worldcon bid for Washington, D.C. was unveiled at Smofcon in Toronto on December 7.

Michael Nelson and Warren Buff are co-chairs. The bid’s website lists 39 committee members, including five past Worldcon chairs and a Hugo-winning faned (Chris Garcia).

They propose to hold the con August 16-20, 2017 in a single facility, the Marriott Wardman Park, offering rooms at $149/night. This was, in a technical sense, the site of the 1974 Worldcon, Discon II – except that construction began in 1977 on a modern replacement hotel, immediately adjacent on the property. When it opened in 1980, the original building was closed and demolished.

The bid is also negotiating to use the Omni Shoreham, across the street, as an overflow hotel.

Bidders chose Washington, D.C. as the proposed host city after canvassing several eastern cities.

Warren Buff outlined the search process for File 770 —

We did serious research on a dozen possible cities, and wound up approaching DC, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, and Charlotte, which I suppose is really more aptly called a Mid-Atlantic spread than a Northeastern one.  We waffled until rather late on whether to contact Providence or not, but ultimately ruled it out.  The bid really originates in two independent efforts — I was working on a group thinking regionally, while BWAWA had started looking into whether or not to bid (since the Marriott to go with the new convention center was finally under construction — though we wound up going with a different site in DC).  We encountered each other in May, and agreed to an alliance, which has ultimately led to a bid with a large regional membership organized under BWAWA.

New Bid for 2014 DSC

Curt Phillips, Gary Robe and Warren Buff are the central committee of a new bid to hold the 2014 DeepSouthCon.

They’re currently considering facilities in Kingsport, TN, Johnson City, TN and Bristol, VA.  If selected, they’ll name their convention ConTrails

The bid will be submitted at DSC 50 in Huntsville next year.

[Thanks to Andrew Porter for the story.]

Mowatt Interviews TAFF Contenders

Jim Mowatt’s conversations with all three 2012 Trans Atlantic Fan Fund candidates are available in a new podcast.

Jacq Monahan, Warren Buff and Kim Kofmehl, three highly articulate fans, talk about who they’d like to meet, where they’d like to visit, and answer the question “Why TAFF is still relevant?”

After listening, I find it harder than ever to choose just one!

[Via Ansible Links.]

2012 TAFF Ballot

The official ballot for the 2012 TAFF race [PDF file] has been posted on the fan fund’s unofficial website.

When the dust cleared, this was the complete slate of candidates and nominators:

  • Warren Buff: (nominators James Bacon, Paul Cornell, Chris Garcia, Tim Illingworth and Lloyd Penney)
  • Kim G. Kofmel: (nominators Flick, Brad Foster, Jeanne Gomoll, Alice Lawson, and Pat Virzi/Mueller)
  • Jacqueline Monahan: (nominators Sandra Bond, Nic Farey, Steve Green, Curt Phillips and John Purcell)

The voting deadline is December 9, 2011 at 23:59 (GMT in Europe, MST in North America). Votes may be submitted by mail (make donation checks payable to the administrators) or via PayPal. Addresses and other necessary information appears on the ballot. The minimum donation is (US)$3 or £2.

[Inspired by Ansible Links.]

Buff to Run for TAFF

Warren Buff has announced he is a candidate for TAFF. His nominators will be Chris Garcia, Lloyd Penney, Tim Illingworth, James Bacon, and Paul Cornell. 

Warren says, “The basic gist of my candidacy is that I’m going to go to Eastercon either way, but I’ll be able to take time to hang out and travel around Britain to meet more fans if I win — otherwise, I’m coming back on Monday around the end of the con.”

So far two fans have revealed they are running for TAFF, Jacq Monahan being the other.

[Thanks to Joel Zakem for the story.]

John Hertz: 2010 NASFiC Notes

By John Hertz: [Reprinted from Vanamonde 898 by permission.]   Reconstruction” was the 10th Occasional North America Science Fiction Convention, 5-8 August, Raleigh, North Carolina, at the Convention Center and nearby Marriott and Sheraton hotels, the Marriott adjacent with a connecting passage; the NASFiC is occasioned by the World S-F Convention being overseas, as this year (Aussiecon IV, the 68th Worldcon, Melbourne, 2-6 Sep), so that we’ve only had ten since inventing them in 1975; Author Guest of Honor Eric Flint, Graphic Artist GoH Brad Foster, Fan GoH Juanita Coulson, Toastmaster Toni Weisskopf; attendance about 650; chairman Warren Buff, who assured me the name was jes’ fine for a con in the South and I should have seen the others proposed. If London wins its bid for 2014 we’ll need a NASFiC then; hearing mutterings of Cincinnati, I proposed “Consul.”

Weisskopf’s fine conviviality was everywhere. Foster and Coulson, whom I rarely meet in person, were welcome sights; she is herself a Londoner – London, Ohio. James Bacon, whose friendship with Chris Garcia is a frightening fruitful fact, masterminded a United Kingdom party – actually, there were no parties, the Marriott didn’t permit any; this was a reception or “meet and greet” – over two nights, with U.K. cheeses, biscuits, drinks, fans, and a London in 2014 film. Garcia hosted the Fanzine Lounge. I led three Classics of S-F talks: J. Campbell, “Who Goes There?” (1938); R. Heinlein, Farmer in the Sky (1950); M. Shelley, Frankenstein (1831). Mary Robinette Kowal had phoned during June to see if we could associate Regency Dancing with her reception to launch a new fantasy set in the Regency; we managed to put both on the same night, dancing first, after which I found her in the Marriott wearing period clothes and having sold all her books.

Kowal was on a panel discussion I moderated, “Editing, the Necessary Evil”, Dan Hoyt, Chris Jackson, MRK, Stanley Schmidt, Lawrence Schoen. I had objected to “Evil” and offered “Editing, the Necessity”, for which I was made moderator. Kowal said “Maybe I like a proposed edit because it shows I didn’t get something across.” Schmidt told of a response “Thank you for your comments, I made the changes you suggested and sold the story to Gordon van Gelder.” Another panel I was given to moderate, having argued it shouldn’t be done at all, was “Butchering the Sacred Cows” (i.e. at s-f cons), on which were Jennifer Liang, Dan Reid, Jim Stratton, Alex von Thorn; at previous cons I’d found this a ranting place for people with a peeve, the Art Show, autograph sessions, the Dealers’ Room, exhibits, the Masquerade, panels; we managed a little better; I suggested If you’re trying to grow wheat, a rose is a weed, and we talked of directing traffic. There are also Hertz’ Corollaries to Sullivan’s Law, That which is perceived, rightly or wrongly, as having no function, will come to have no form, and If you grieve some form is in disrepair, find and point out its function.

The weekend was jolly, the many errors were outweighed, the fifteen pizzas which appeared at the Dead Dog Party [after the con has formally ended and until the last dog is –] promptly disappeared, and Weisskopf at Closing Ceremonies said it was “a lovely proof of principle for NASFiC.”

Another Voice on Semiprozines

Warren Buff favors keeping the Best Semiprozine Hugo. While we differ about that, I admired a bit of research he presented on a list-serv to refute the idea that there has been a radically smaller assortment of nominees in that category than in some others. I quote it here, with his permission.   

Warren Buff: “Now, I initially voted for this amendment. I thought the case was solid that the same nominees were coming up year after year, and from 2003-2008, four of the five nominees are identical. One of those (Ansible) failed to make this year’s ballot, but even then, we can trace three of the five nominees back on every ballot since 1989 (Locus, Interzone, NYRSF). In the past ten years, it has featured only 12 nominees. This may sound like a small number until you count the nominees in Best Fanzine over the same period — a mere 13, and there’s an overlap of two between the two categories (and another of the fanzine nominees is SFFY). Best Fan Writer has only had 12 nominees in the past ten years. Best Professional Artist has only scored 15 nominees. Best Fan Artist has produced a mere 10. (I’ll leave off the Editor categories, though, since those were too recently split to provide comparable data.) So I don’t really consider the category to be that unhealthy. If we have a problem with the same folks getting nominated consistently for the Best Semiprozine Hugo, then I suspect there are a lot of categories in similar danger of going to the chopping block. I didn’t think I was going to change my mind on getting rid of Semiprozine, but this discussion has caused me to take another look at the raw data. We can probably think of some interesting ways to change the category to make it more exciting. Let’s explore those rather than kill it entirely.”