Smofcon 37 Posts Worldcon, Westercon and Smofcon Bidder Questionnaires

Smofcon 37, the convention for conrunners, taking place December 6-8 in Albuquerque, NM, asked Worldcon, and Smofcon bidders, and seated Worldcon and Westercon committees to answer a questionnaire. The responses have been posted at Smofcon’s website under Fannish Inquisition.

There will also be a Q&A session at the con on December 7 – publishing these questionnaires in advance helps keep that time from being taken up with basic information. If you want to submit a question, see the information at the end of this post.

The following FAQs have been received from Bids and seated conventions:

SMOFCon Bids

Seated Worldcons

Seated NASFiC

Worldcon Bids

Seated Westercons

Seven Worldcon committees and bidders (all except Nice in 2023) cosigned a statement (which many inserted at the beginning of their questionnaires) criticizing the Smofcon 37 committee for the short response deadline, the dramatic increase in number of questions asked from last year’s form, and use of Google Docs to communicate, which cannot be accessed in China. Smofcon 37’s chair Ron Oakes responded with a lengthy justification of what happened, while the FAQ coordinator apologized.

SMOFCon 37 Response

Submitting Questions to the Fannish Inquisition: Here are the committee’s instructions:

This event is our traditional time for bids for future SMOFCon, Worldcons and NASFiCs.  Our usual highlight event, and will mostly be run as it has been in the recent past with written questions through our able moderators.  Those wishing to submit questions in advance may do so by sending email to fi_questions@smofcon37-abq.org, up to 6:30pm MST December 7, 2019 to ensure that we receive it prior to the convention.

[Update 12/07/2019: After this post was drafted last night, several more questionnaires were added to the website. The new links have been added here.]

16 thoughts on “Smofcon 37 Posts Worldcon, Westercon and Smofcon Bidder Questionnaires

  1. Interesting about the problem with Google Docs in China. Brings up questions of what else would be unavailable while going to the con.

  2. I get that there were time problems — but should anyone be worried about the 2020 Westercon (Seattle, from what I see in a quick Google) not responding at all? (I won’t be worrying — the chance of my going is insignificant — but I’d hate to see a long-standing, worthwhile tradition start to crumble.) Or are their answers subsumed in the 2025 Worldcon data? (I haven’t read those answers as I need to be on the road shortly.)

    I have read the chair’s response and find it … unimpressive. The give-them-their-heads model only works when everything works correctly; IME, part of the chair’s job at any SF convention is touching base to make sure there’s progress (including checking for snags that the chair can find a way around — a global view can be helpful when someone has their nose to the grindstone). I also wonder why the questionnaire was initially planned to go out so late; IIRC, when I questioned the 1992 bids on behalf of Noreascon 3, I gave them rather more than a month to answer — and there was still talk of tar-and-feathers as a special event.

  3. David Shallcross: The Nice in 2023 questionnaire (and several others) were added since last night. I have updated the post.

  4. Laura: Thanks for the correction. When I updated this morning I copy/pasted all the links from the site again, and since they had made the correction overnight, now I have it too.

  5. Well, if whole groups of customers are not good enough for you, then you go bankrupt. Good riddance to the Nazi bus company, though I do feel sorry for the Westercon folks and the city of Tonopah in general to lose a public transportation option.

    Also, the Nice questionnaire listed an airline that has been defunct since 2017 as one of those that flies into their airport.

    And the Chengdu answer about how their police department treats minorities and marginalised people is very interesting.

  6. Cora Buhlert: the Chengdu answer about how their police department treats minorities and marginalised people is very interesting.

    Wow, either that answer is a blatant lie, or else the policing in Chengdu city is completely unlike that in the rest of the country. 🤨

  7. @OGH: another carried-forward typo: “Los Angles” is bidding for Smofcon. (That’s the file name, but the correct name is in the file.)

    I had a few hours on the road to think about the current chair’s response, and I’m even less impressed with the comment about Smofcons having smaller staffs than other conventions; Smofcons are also less complicated than other conventions, so they shouldn’t need to double up. Did he bid with an insufficient base, or is he just trying to come up with excuses? At least he demonstrated his mismanagement skills in an area where a lot of people could scramble to rescue; whether he’ll be trusted in a less-supportive environment (e.g., running an area at a Worldcon) is a question for the future.

    It will be interesting to see whether Seattle in 2025 can turn its handwaving into a formal filing, considering that previous groups weren’t able to do so; there’s time between now and then for the economy to dive, so they may get better responses.

  8. I’m reminded that Westercon 73 chair Sally Woehrle was at Loscon with a table and all — they’re definitely still active, whether or not they answered the questionnaire. They also have an elaborate website.

    The 2025 bid shows it intends to be in Seattle. Westercon 73 will be at SeaTac.

  9. Cora Buhlert: I also strongly suspect that any other answer would have gotten the people whose name is on the form in serious trouble.

    I’m sure you’re right. But it was a stupid move on their part, because it’s a flaming red indicator that the Chengdu concom is willing to put out blatant falsehoods in order to promote their bid. 😐

  10. Unless they’ve torn down the spiny Red Lion (now probably a Doubletree), there’s at least one hotel near SeaTac that can fit a Westercon; I remember when a bid claimed this hotel could hold a Worldcon by taking a curve statistically fit to sizes of many previous Worldcons instead of to the recent trend. (They “concluded” that 1981 would be 3000 (?2500?) people, conveniently fitting their space (which from what I’ve heard couldn’t actually handle 3000 showing up for the ?1986? Norwescon). Downtown Seattle would be nice; we’ll see what numbers they come up with closer to voting time. (I’m remembering Boston-in-2001 getting unreasonable rates ~10 months from the vote.)

  11. Chengdu is known as the rainbow capital of China, so I at least find that encouraging.

    I will not even try to guess about ethnical conflicts, because that would take a lot more reading. But Chengdu has a growing Tibetan population, so I expect there to be issues.

  12. Regarding Westercon 73 / 2020 (SeaTac Doubletree): I seem to recall Sally Woehrle saying that she’d not received the questionnaire. She did seem to me puzzled when I asked her about it at Loscon.

    Note that Westercon 73 / 2020 SeaTac is not affiliated with the Seattle in 2025 Worldcon bid. Westercon 73 is part of SWOC (the corporate non-profit organization that ran the 2015 Worldcon in Spokane). The Seattle in 2025 Worldcon bid is a new, startup group and is not part of SWOC, and they are definitely bidding for downtown Seattle, not the airport hotels. While the SeaTac airport hotels are sufficient for Westercons and even a NASFiC (like 2005), they couldn’t possibly hold a Worldcon.

    While I did receive the questionnaire and answered it for Westercon 74 / 2021 (Tonopah), some of the questions were only vaguely applicable to Westercons. Nevertheless, it was relatively easy to answer, but only because many of the questions were already answered on the Westercon 74 web site or that of the Tonopah in 2021 bid web site. It’s good that I was able to go look that stuff up on our web site, because we were already on our road to Loscon and SMOFCon when I was filling out the questionnaire. (For those not following my journal, we drove Fernley NV – Bishop CA – LAX (Loscon) – Palm Springs – Cottonwood AZ – Grants NM – Albuquerque NM (SMOFCon) – Winslow AZ – Kingman AZ – Las Vegas NV – Tonopah NV – Fernley and were on the road for 18 days and more than 2,400 miles between Thanksgiving and last Saturday.

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