Open Letter Organizer Discusses Chengdu Worldcon Bid

[Introduction: Anna Smith Spark organized the Open Letter To The World Science Fiction Society about the Saudi Arabia Worldcon bid. File 770 asked if she had plans to address other bids, such as the Worldcon bid for Chengdu, China in 2023 (which now has only Memphis TN as competition, the Nice, France bid having folded last week). She has written this guest post in response.]

By Anna Smith Spark: I am very happy to do this again next year for Chengdu if it falls to me. What is taking place in Xinjiang is genocide. The oppression in Hong Kong is shocking.

I say this great sadness. Chinese history, literature, art, science and technology is and has been truly world-changing; Chinese SFF is superb in its scope and quality; Chinese cities are some of the most dynamic places in the world. On a personal note, I am myself quarter-Chinese. My first response to the Chengdu was breathless excitement and a desire to attend right now.

It’s also important also to stress that the immediate safety concerns for fandom attendees at a Chinese con are not in any way the same as those I raised about the Saudi bid. LGTBQ+ identity is not illegal in China (although I do recognise that discrimination does take place); women are not discriminated against in law; Israeli passport holders would be legally able to enter the country. Acceptance of the Saudi bid sent a signal to fandom that was entirely unacceptable, namely that a celebration of our genre could conceivably take place that by default excluded many of us from attending. This would not be the case for Chinese event – although it would be for any future Russian or Hungarian bid. The idea that a Chinese venue would not be ‘safe’ for western fans indeed links straight into a racist discourse about the far east which I find deeply troubling.

However the human rights abuses in China being perpetrated against the Uyghurs, members of Falun Gong, and political dissidents are appalling. The idea of a con taking place against a backdrop of the forced sterilization of women from an ethnic minority is … unspeakable. As a woman and as a human being, I would find such a juxtaposition abhorrent. Unless there is a significant change in Chinese policy in the next year, I oppose the Chengdu bid.

BUT:

I wanted to make the letter about the Saudi Arabian bid specifically. The issue was urgent given the vote is taking place now. I am ashamed to say I knew nothing about it until Saturday morning my time, and had two days at most to get this done. My experience of political campaigning has also taught me that a single-item specific campaign targeted on what is happening now is more effective and hard hitting. Either the nuances of the particular issues raised by the Saudi bid would have been obscured in a general, woolly statement about WorldCons in general, or the letter would have got far too long to have any effect. Campaigns are also more effective if they are close to the voting dates – by next year a campaign about the Chinese bid raised now would probably be forgotten.

There is obviously an issue around western fandom (I may be quarter-Chinese but to all practical purposes I’m classically white privileged) making a blanket condemnation of the only two non-western countries’ bids. By only looking at the Saudi bid I was able to ask Muslim friends to help me review the letter, and had the space to make very clear that we were not at all opposed to an Arabic or Islamic Worldcon and could see many positives about the Saudi bid. Islam and Arabic culture are two of the great pillars of science and world literature, a Worldcon in a Muslim country to celebrate this would be a glorious thing to see. 

It is hugely depressing that both of the only two current non-western bids do raise problems. I agonised over writing the letter, I feel very conflicted because I would love to see us celebrating a truly world-wide fandom. Simply not at the cost of litwashing a staggering abuse of human rights.

Some people have of course raised the issue of the US itself as a venue if certain things occur … although as Worldcon is a US con that gets mentally torturous …

The intersection of fandom and human rights awareness will only get more complex in the future. There are so many issues we need to address properly now, not on an ad hoc basis as we go along. Like the best SFF books, it’s complicated and we need to step up. A row every few years really isn’t the answer (also I’d collapse from exhaustion). Serious thought about how we as a diverse, world-wide community go forward together is. If you’ll forgive the ghastly grammar of that last sentence.

I would also add, to those who point out that I ‘don’t understand the process’ – no, I don’t. I don’t understand anything about it. I looked at the Worldcon and WSFS websites and found nothing I could make sense of. If the process isn’t transparent to an outsider, isn’t open to challenge –  it’s not fit for purpose and it’s blatantly discriminatory. If the process is that there is no process … uh …. And to those who say ‘it would have lost the vote anyway’ – I’ve heard that before, I think?

65 thoughts on “Open Letter Organizer Discusses Chengdu Worldcon Bid

  1. “I’m ready to make a meaningless action by adressing a letter to an entity that doesn’t exist again next year.”

    There has been no “acceptance of the Saudi Bid”. There is no vetting because the rules do not allow any vetting. The only acceptance is the vote in the site selection and we haven’t seen the result yet.

    Instead of these performance activities that doesn’t lead to anything, why not put in some work that can actually make change?

    I.e draft a proposal for how you want the WSFS to handle this is if you are dissatisfied with the way site selection is done today. Make the proposal available so everyone can give their input. Show up at a Business Meeting, argue for the changes. Mobilise supporters.

    That could make a change. These letters, written just some day before the voting, have no effect whatsoever.

    Arguing that you have no clue whatsoever about how a Worldcon works doesn’t help. There are people to ask and you have had the time to ask them. That you still haven’t is mind boggling.

  2. And yes, I’m angry because you slandered Kevin Standlee, one who really put in the time and the work to keep the puppies at bay, as some kind of pro-puppy person. Before you apologize for that abuse, I see no reason for why anybody should listen to you.

  3. The process is really very simple – unbelievably simple, it appears. It’s a one-step exercise in direct democracy. The bidders present their bids, and the eligible members vote. That’s it.

    There is no cabal. There are no gatekeepers.

    Anyone can decide they want to host a Worldcon. In practice, for obvious reasons, it tends to be SF fans who do this…. but it needn’t be, and there is no way to stop people thinking, “hey, we should host the World Science Fiction Convention”. The Pope could decide tomorrow that VatiCon would be a good idea, and he could get a bunch of cardinals together and they could thrash out the details – and there is nothing stopping them from presenting a bid proposal, which the voters would then decide on. Questions would be asked, certainly, and the voters would make an informed decision….

    … just as they’re going to do this year with the Saudi bid, and will do with the Chengdu one when it comes up. And the problems with the Saudi bid have been raised, and discussed, loudly and often, long before that open letter was written. And because of those issues, it is overwhelmingly likely that the Saudi bid will fail, convincingly. It will fall at the first hurdle – which is also the only hurdle – which is the vote itself.

    I honestly think it’s actually better this way. Rather than have a gatekeeping cabal deciding what is or is not permissible, let the fans as a whole speak their mind! The vote will demonstrate that SF fans do not support discrimination and oppression; I have full faith and confidence in that. We don’t need a preliminary vetting committee to tell us what is or isn’t acceptable; we have our own minds and our own consciences for that.

  4. Anna has again not grasped that a bid appearing on the ballot is not any indication that the bid is acceptable or functional

    “Acceptance of the Saudi bid sent a signal to fandom that was entirely unacceptable,”

    That decision is the prerogative of WSFS – that being in any one year the membership (supporting and attending) of that years Worldcon.

    Worldcon is not governed by a board as with the World Fantasy and Horror Conventions and it does not have a small group of gatekeepers deciding who is fit to bid and who should win the bid.

    And personally I think having the decision taken by the 1000’s of fans who vote in a Worldcon Site Selection is by far preferable to having the choice of these 1,000’s of fans be dictated to be a small group acting as gatekeepers and deciding which bids are acceptable

    I don’t think is a coincidence that in its history the World Fantasy Convention has only been held outside North America on 4 occasions and every one of those 4 were held in the UK. Its has never been held in none English speaking countries (4 Worldcons have) and its have never been held outside the NA/UK sphere (9 Worldcons have)

    I much prefer the democratic process operated by Worldcon having an open bidding system. Yes at times you will get bids from countries that many will think are unacceptable and from bids that many will think are non functional. But normally these will fall by the wayside as it becomes apparent to the bidders that their bid will not work. And those that do make it to the ballot will fall at this electoral hurdle as they are routed in the vote.

    Is it not better that the opinion of Saudi as a bad place to hold a Worldcon is expressed by the vote of the Worldcon members than having the bid rejected by a small group of gatekerpers

  5. The WSFS Constitution, easily accessible online, is perfectly clear about how Worldcon site selection works, just as even a casual reader might discover that there is no such thing as the “WSFS Board”.

  6. Anna once again shows she does not understand the governance of the World Sciece Fiction Convention.

    A bid appearing on the ballot is in no way an indication that a bid is acceptable or functional. That is the sold prerogative of that Worldcon membership.

    Worldcon does not have a board or set of gatekeepers determining who can bid unlike the World Fantasy or Horror conventions. Worldcon operates with an open bidding system that allow anyone to bid and allows places that might be side lined otherwise to bid

    And personally I think this is a much better system than having a small set of gatekeepers deciding who can bid and bringing their own prejudices into the decision.

    I don’t think it’s a coincidence that there have only been 4 World Fantasy Conventions outside of North America and all of these have been in the UK. There has never been a WFC held in a non english speaking country. There have been 4 Worldcons held in none english speaking countries, 9 held in countries outside of NA and the UK, and 16 held outside of NA.

    The open bidding system employed by Worldcon has its issues in that you can get unsuitable bids on the ballot. But these are weeded out by the membership and these bids will get very few votes. But it has the upside that unexpected and unusual places can get selected to run a Worldcon.

    Site Selection is not the Hugo’s making it on to the ballot is no indication as to the quality of the bid.

  7. “Show up at a business meeting.”

    So in these fast-changing futuristic days of remote working and instant communication, that must be a piece of cake. Except no, under WSFS rules, only members physically present at the Business Meeting may participate (make motions, debate, and vote). I guess that could easily have been changed to account for Covid, but changes would need to be heralded years in advance by… showing up at a business meeting? This isn’t exactly as anarchist as it is badly dogmatic.

  8. @Steven Poore – speaking as somebody who attended Worldcon and went to the Business Meeting (because I had drafted proposals) yes, it is a pain in the ass. Most change is hard.

    It’s not dogmatic. I was at two of the most controversial Worldcon business meetings of the century, held at Worldcons with thousands of members, and the business meeting attendance barely cracked 200. The fact of the matter is most people, including those who are members of Worldcon, really aren’t interested in how the sausage gets made.

  9. Props to both Kevin Standlee and Hampus for grace under pressure while explaining the hows and wherefores of both the WorldCon site selection rules and the rule change process on Twitter.

  10. @Steven Poore, think of WSFS as a parliament. You get to attend by buying your membership, but need to be in the chamber to participate. This has worked well across the world. And certainly if you don’t have a Worldcon membership, you can only lobby from the outside. Perhaps you want it to work as a shareholder meeting, with proxies, but it can’t work as an election with a postal vote, because the turnaround is too slow for amendments to amendments.

    And if you want to propose an authenticated electronic communication system, that seems overkill for a meeting that works with people with gavels.

  11. Hi Anna,

    I’ve enjoyed reading some of your work and very much enjoyed hearing you speak on various podcasts. We share some virtual space on FB and you are always a great personality there.

    I’m sure there are lots of people trying to help you out.

    Here is the short version; please purchase a membership to ConZealand. Please plan on purchasing a membership to DisConIII in 2021. The final site selection committee is really the entire membership of the con. Members get to vote on the site selection.

    That is the only only “selection process” with which you can engage; being a voting member of WorldCon. I believe that there are many members that already agree with your perspective and that you becoming a member will improve the reception of your message.

    Another short version; please promote membership and participation with all phases of WorldCon. That includes nominating worthy works next January, reading and voting on the finalists next April-July, and ultimately voting on site selection for 2023.

    And if that process seems to lack something, then as a member of the Con, you can offer changes to the bylaws to help filter out sites located within nations with questionable human rights records. [The physical attendance requirement being duly noted.]

    I’ve been quietly promoting participation in WorldCons by the people interested in the grimdark sub-genre for a couple of years. Perhaps someone with a higher visibility profile, such as yourself, might have more luck. I think having more participation from grimdark fans would improve the process.

    Regards,
    Dann
    TRC eht edisni deppart ma I !pleH

  12. Steven Poore:

    Why do you think it is so strange that those who decide how conventions should be administered also are those who visit the conventions?

  13. @Steven Poore–A major change in How Things Are Done, including such rather basic governance things as who counts as “attending” the Business Meeting (currently, you have to physically attend), require two years to change. I.e., the proposal has to be passed at one Worldcon, and then ratified at the next Worldcon. It would then go into effect at the Worldcon after than.

    No, it couldn’t possibly be done for CoNZealand in response to the pandemic. Just absolutely impossible.

    Because of the impossibility of holding a Business Meeting with anything like the attendance at a normal Worldcon, CoNZealand is passing along everything it can pass along to the next Worldcon. Plenty of time to get your proposal ready for the DisCon III Business Meeting, provided you can move yourself to do that work, buy an attending membership, and go to the Business Meeting.

    I think there’s going to be a lot more receptivity to the idea of virtual attending members being able to attend the Business Meeting than there would have been in past years, before we got hit over the head with the pandemic. Address the process, and the actual problem, rather than the assumptions you’re making about people’s characters and motivations because they didn’t plan years in advance for a once-a-century pandemic, and I think you’ll get a positive reception.

    Note that “positive reception” doesn’t mean that your proposal with pass exactly as you wrote it, without any amendments. It doesn’t even mean it will pass the first time it’s introduced. It will be a big change–one I think is inevitable, but precisely because making changes is hard, people will want to be sure they know where the bugs are.

    Your other desire, to completely transform the democratic nature of WSFS, and have a gatekeeper body that stands between the members and the bids and decides what bids the members are allowed to vote on, is a much harder sell, and it would be even more important not to cast sweeping insults about the motives and intentions of anyone who disagrees with you.

    And please do note Steve Cooper’s comments about the likely loss of diversity and of the “world” in Worldcon, if such a change were made.

  14. Now lets hope the orange menace will lose the election and I might even visit. I liked Chicago.

  15. My mother was convinced that the Saudis would buy it, I was sure that they wouldn’t.
    Btw Washington sounds like that it will be fun if it is a normal Con.

  16. Charles de Lint, Floyd Norman, Edie Stern, Joe Siclari and Erle Korshak GoHs.

  17. It would be hard to write a by-law that would ban countries that we consider horrid from bidding. I may think Saudi Arabia is horrid but am fine with some other country such as the USA, which other fans may think is horrid. As far as fannish activities, countries without a good copyright law and freedom of expression could be off the list but how would we write the by-law? Would we look at the ratings some respected organization has about human rights? Here is a list of indices and where countries fall on them. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_freedom_indices. Where is the cutoff point. We probably could have a very fine convention in Russia for example even though they are a tad harsh towards a number of religions, ethnic groups and gender expressions. They probably leave tourists alone. This is a hard one.
    It is best left to the wisdom of the fans.

  18. bookworm said that there were 15 Saudi members of ConZealand. Assuming they all voted for Jeddah, only 18 other members voted that way. It would be interesting to know when votes were cast (to see how many votes were cast after the letter was sent).

  19. StefanB

    And Saudi Arabia will try again in 2026.

    Good. The people that put together that bid are fans. They don’t run the government of Saudi Arabia. They should be able to try again as often as their will and the rules will allow.

    While I cannot imagine SA turning into a Middle Eastern version of Denmark…as one example among many….in the next few years, I think the world would be a much better place if their bid was considered a viable option by the members in the coming years.

    Regards,
    Dann

    Whatever crushes individuality is despotism, by whatever name it may be called and whether it professes to be enforcing the will of God or the injunctions of men. John Stuart Mill

  20. Btw Washington sounds like that it will be fun if it is a normal Con.

    It is plausible that there will be a more-than-token physical presence Con in 2021. It is not plausible IMO that it will be normal in many ways, including the ability of a significant number of potential (and ‘normal’) attendees to be physically present at the Business Meeting. This impacts the moral authority of decisions made there.

  21. @errolwi–

    It is plausible that there will be a more-than-token physical presence Con in 2021. It is not plausible IMO that it will be normal in many ways, including the ability of a significant number of potential (and ‘normal’) attendees to be physically present at the Business Meeting. This impacts the moral authority of decisions made there.

    I’m tired of hearing how people genuinely doing the best they can in difficult circumstances they didn’t create are thereby losing moral authority, while there are endless excuses made for the people who made difficult circumstances even worse.

  22. @errolwi on July 30, 2020 at 5:20 pm said:

    It is not plausible IMO that it will be normal in many ways, including the ability of a significant number of potential (and ‘normal’) attendees to be physically present at the Business Meeting. This impacts the moral authority of decisions made there.

    An odd comment to make about “moral authority”, in the midst of a string of comments pointing out that the only moral authority derives from those who show up.

  23. The practicalities of the situation create the issues of moral authority, not any actions/decisions that I am aware of so far. Actions around 2020 were the only practical ones. We need to seriously talk about the least bad steps for the future, rather than assuming that the organisation (such that it is) is best served by carrying on as normal.

  24. An odd comment to make about “moral authority”, in the midst of a string of comments pointing out that the only moral authority derives from those who show up.

    When ‘those who show up’ is filtered first by ‘those who can show up’, decisions impacting those who could not attend lose moral authority. Those excluded are less likely to support the organisation if they do not feel that their interests have been taken into account.

  25. Well, whoever had “deliberately avoid apologizing to people who have been erased and falsely maligned by the letter, post a re-run of the unnecessary condescending lecture, and double-down on the self-righteous ignorance” in the Filer pool wins the kitty.

    Ms. Smith Spark, how terribly brave and selfless it is for you to promise to make yet another meaningless melodramatic gesture a year from now.

    If you really want to engage in some meaningful activism — rather than what is thus far merely a poorly-scripted performative act — then become a member of CoNZealand and DisCon III (and wow, what a lot of nerve you have criticizing Worldcon members when you can’t be bothered to be part of the decision-making process).

    You have 6 months to get a group of like-minded people together and file a bid to host the 2023 Worldcon in a country which is not currently engaging in severe human-rights violations (in other words, somewhere other than the US, UK, and China).

    You have 11 months to develop the wording for a modification to the WSFS Constitution which will effect the sort of gatekeeping you want to happen, and then persuade Worldcon members to vote for it.

    But do nothing for the next year, and then write another ignorant letter a year from now? I can think of few better ways for you to damage your credibility even further than you already have.

  26. I agree with JJ. If you don’t like the bids in 2023, create your own bid and explain why it’s better than Chengdu or Memphis.

  27. @JJ The US (and the UK) certainly could do better, but to put them as equal to China with respect to human rights is ignorant.

  28. bill: The US (and the UK) certainly could do better, but to put them as equal to China with respect to human rights is ignorant.

    Well, yes, if I had done that, it would be, but I didn’t. 🙄

  29. ISTM that the comparison between Saudi Arabia and the PRC is too favorable to the latter. In the former, public actions could be punished; in the latter, mere public speech can be punished, such that ISTM that all fans should consider themselves at risk.

    @Steve Cooper:

    I don’t think is a coincidence that in its history the World Fantasy Convention has only been held outside North America on 4 occasions and every one of those 4 were held in the UK. Its has never been held in none English speaking countries (4 Worldcons have) and its have never been held outside the NA/UK sphere (9 Worldcons have)

    That’s an uncalled-for slur. AFAICT, there have been 0 (zero) WFC bids from outside the English-speaking world — and as a survivor of 4 Worldcon bids and a former WFC chair, I can tell you that bidding for the WFC is a lot easier than bidding for a Worldcon. (BTW, a factcheck: http://www.worldfantasy.org/past-conventions/list-of-conventions/ shows just 3 non-NA.)

    @T. Wright Barnes: the WSFS Constitution is a legal document; it doesn’t explain the basics concisely — that’s not its role. Perhaps a link to Fancyclopedia cite below would be useful, although I don’t know how visible such a link would have to be to make it “transparent”. Perhaps future … critics … could find someone who knows anything about the process — or just try Googling “Worldcon site selection”, for which the cite is the first hit. (I hadn’t tried this; given the results, I am unimpressed with the claim that the process is not transparent to an outsider. IMO, British elections are “transparent to an outsider” only because of massive news coverage, and sometimes not even then; the complaint might have some validity if the BBC/NPR/… covered Worldcon politics.)

    @John Bray (niggles, hoping that Steven Poore is listening): Parliament is limited to the survivors of elections; Worldcon business meetings are open to all convention members. And I don’t know whether Parliament still observes the custom of “pairing” (which allows people unwilling to listen to debate to effectively pre-vote), but I’ve never heard of the like at a business meeting (although there will sometimes be a mass exodus after a question with much heat has been voted on).

    @errolwi: on what grounds do you conclude that normal attendance will be impossible? I’m not guessing which vaccines will be found useful (even if I’m cheering a local firm that has made it to stage 3, cf one of my recent comments), but I wouldn’t bet against there being some.

    wrt gatekeeping: Fancyclopedia says NYin89 never filed; my recollection is that a site-selection administrator moved to rule them off the ballot because (one of?) the facilities in their Greg Brown Memorial Letter (section 4.6.1(2) had withdrawn/folded/…, but that’s a personal recollection (and I doubt I’d get a straight answer from that person if I asked). That was a looser time; I expect that an administrator who did anything like that today would be hounded, and I hope they’d be fired. (ISTM that if a bid does not formally cede when it becomes untenable (e.g., as DC in 92 did), the catcalls from fandom should be sufficient to make it lose massively.)

  30. @JJ: Would it be fair to interpret your comment “a country which is not currently engaging in severe human-rights violations (in other words, somewhere other than the US, UK, and China)” as meaning, instead, “a country which is not currently engaging in severe human-rights violations (which would rule out the US, UK, and China, among others)”?

    I think it would be difficult to argue that the US, UK, and China are the only countries engaged in severe human rights violations, but if that’s not what you meant, then we don’t have to argue about a point you weren’t making.

  31. Yes, Joshua, you’re right, I should have specified “among others”. The Australian government has been engaged in some pretty horrendous actions in recent years, as well.

  32. @Anna Smith Spark

    There’s this neat thing you can do when you don’t understand something: Ask questions. Listen to the answers. Ask more questions. Etc. That’s what I did, when I wanted to know more about the WSFS. You could do so here, if you liked, or perhaps continue your correspondence with Kevin Standlee, who is one of the most knowledgable and generous with his knowledge fans around when it comes to the WSFS and how it works and how to change it.

    You might want to open with an apology for implying he was pro-Puppy (and not, for example, deeply involved in making the anti-slate rule changes happen, or helping all the newbies like me understand what was going on and how to be productive when we got involved in 2015 to try and help the WSFS against the Puppy slates, which are the things he actually did – you really, really called that assumption badly, you should know).

  33. Things people can do that might have more real impact than a letter:

    Become a member of WSFS (this is more of a prerequisite for 2, 4, and 5 than an action for change itself)
    Vote in Site Selection
    Talk to members of the WSFS about what sorts of changes could or should be made
    Put forward a proposal to the Business Meeting to change the Site Selection rules
    Join forces with likeminded fans to put in a bid to hold a Worldcon somewhere you approve of in years where a bid you don’t approve of has thrown their hat in the ring (as previously established, no-one can stop you!)

    Well, that’s just what I, a (still) ignorant newbie to the WSFS, who has never attended a Worldcon, managed to come up with in two minutes. More experienced fen might have more to offer or corrections to make.

    @Chris Rose

    No idea. But the worst that happens if I write comments with a thought to whether she’s reading is… she doesn’t, so I’m going to carry on with it for as long as I feel like it. 🙂

  34. Chip:

    on what grounds do you conclude that normal attendance will be impossible? I’m not guessing which vaccines will be found useful (even if I’m cheering a local firm that has made it to stage 3, cf one of my recent comments), but I wouldn’t bet against there being some.

    I’m betting against vaccines being (by August 2021) 100% effective and available to all for minimal cost (so anyone can self protect), or highly effective and with high enough uptake to provide known herd immunity throughout a potential Con attendee’s journey to the Con.

  35. Chris Rose: Does anyone actually think Ms Spark is reading these comments?

    I think it unlikely, since this doubling-down on her part has demonstrated a singular unwillingness to listen to anyone since she got the idea to write the letter.

    However, some of the other signees are reading here, and I’m hoping that they’re more willing to at least listen and think about what they’re hearing.

  36. @Chip Hitchcock

    That’s an uncalled-for slur. AFAICT, there have been 0 (zero) WFC bids from outside the English-speaking world — and as a survivor of 4 Worldcon bids and a former WFC chair, I can tell you that bidding for the WFC is a lot easier than bidding for a Worldcon. (BTW, a factcheck: http://www.worldfantasy.org/past-conventions/list-of-conventions/ shows just 3 non-NA.)

    Saying there have been zero bids from outside the English speaking world and that’s why there have been no none English WFC, is similar to the old police excuse for a lack of black police officers – that they did not apply. You have to ask yourself why has there not been a bid from a none English country and what can we do to change that

    But a single example of how having gatekeepers would reduce the breadth of Worldcons.

    The current Worldcon started with a miss guided comment at a party by Norman, but the support he got there and subsequently showed a bid was viable.

    There was no NZ organisation and no facilities. But over the years of the bid local support was built up and facilities found. So that when it came into the final year of the bid CNZ was a viable bid the membership of WC76 to vote for.

    Having gatekeepers would make this organic rise impossible.

  37. “No, I don’t know what you guys are doing or how you’re doing it, but whatever it is you’re doing it all wrong.”

    Do we need to coin a new term — Anna-splaining instead of man-splaining?

  38. @Chris Rose

    She submitted information to Mike with (one assumes) a request that it be used/posted here. Here is the best place to respond to what was submitted.

    Anything else would seem a little..ummm…stalkerish??….to me.

    If she elects to “fire and forget”, then that is her choice.

    Regards,
    Dann
    A monarch’s neck should always have a noose around it. It keeps him upright. – The Cat Who Walks Through Walls

  39. Saying there have been zero bids from outside the English speaking world and that’s why there have been no none English WFC, is similar to the old police excuse for a lack of black police officers – that they did not apply. You have to ask yourself why has there not been a bid from a none English country and what can we do to change that

    That’s a questionable analogy at best — especially since you then point to the “organic” growth of the New Zealand bid from a partisan’s interest. Hartwell encouraged new people to bid (see the recent article here explaining how Salt Lake city got roped in); the closest thing to a requirement was that someone on the bid committee have come to some WFCs so they’d know what kind of convention it was. (This is a non-trivial consideration; there was a German ~article in advance of the WFC I co-chaired which made it sound like a trade show.) It is unfortunate that the last WFC outside NA was something of a mess; that may have discouraged people from the Continent who might otherwise have kept coming and thought about bidding.

    For that matter, one could slam the “World”con similarly, for not having a non-English-speaking site for 31 years; note that WFC is 36 years younger than Worldcon.

  40. A further thought on the main topic: I’d love to see Spark (Smith Spark?) actually spell out what she considers “transparent” — especially if she duly recognizes the lack of a central authority. It’s not impossible she’ll have a point somewhere, and if she doesn’t it will emphasize that she was stirring.

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