Waiting for Online Hugo Voting and the Voter Packet

By JJ: Enquiring Hugo voter minds want to know: When will we be able to vote online? When will the Hugo Voter Packet be available?

In the tradition of similar File 770 posts on the subject in years past, here is a comparison of the deadlines and availability dates of recent Worldcons.

Because what the hell, we’ve got time to kill. And a year from now, someone is going to ask about this again, the way they do every year.

Notes:

  • In 2008 and 2009, the Hugo Voter Packet was put together by John Scalzi
  • In 2012, the Hugo Voter Packet was released in stages starting on May 18, becoming fully available on May 30
  • With the Exception of 2009, 2016, and 2017, all Finalist Announcements were made on Easter weekend

 

Chicon 7 in 2012 and Renovation in 2011 were the Worldcons which had online voting up and running the fastest, at 2 and 5 days following the announcement of the Finalists. Denvention 3 in 2008 and Renovation were the Worldcons which had the Hugo Voter Packet available the most quickly, at 3 and 4 weeks following the Finalist announcement.

While you’re waiting for the Hugo Voter Packet, here’s a list of links to read the 2018 Hugo Finalists which are available for free online.

  1. – days between online nominations becoming available and nomination deadline
  2. – days between nomination deadline and finalist announcement
  3. – days between finalist announcement and online voting becoming available
  4. – days between finalist announcement and Hugo Voter Packet becoming available
  5. – days between online voting becoming available and voting deadline
  6. – days between voting deadline and the start of Worldcon

Update 04/29/2018: Added graph.

Record-Setting Number of Votes for 2016 Hugo Nominations

MidAmeriCon II reports over 4,000 nominating ballots were received for the 2016 Hugo Awards, nearly doubling the previous record of 2,122 ballots set last year by Sasquan, the 73rd Worldcon held in Spokane, WA.

This is the eighth consecutive year the record has been broken. Prior to Sasquan, Loncon 3 (2014) received 1,923 ballots; LoneStarCon 3 (2013) 1,343; Chicon 7 (2012) 1,101; Renovation (2011) 1,006; Aussiecon 4 (2010) 864; Anticipation (2009) 799 — each a new high-water mark at the time.

MidAmeriCon II reports there were 12,715 eligible nominators, also a record. These consisted of the members of Sasquan, and all the members of MidAmeriCon II and Worldcon 75 who had joined by January 31.

The finalists for the 2016 Hugo Awards, John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer, and the 1941 Retro Hugo Awards will be announced on Tuesday, April 26 via MidAmeriCon II’s social media.

The finalists will be released category by category, beginning at Noon CDT (1 p.m. EDT, 10 a.m. PDT, 6 p.m. London, 7 p.m. Western Europe), through the convention’s Facebook page (www.facebook.com/MidAmeriCon2/) and Twitter feed @MidAmeriCon2

The announcement will begin with the 1941 Retro Hugo Awards then continue with the 2016 Hugo Awards and Campbell Award.

The full list of finalists will be made available on the MidAmeriCon II website directly after the completion of the live announcement, and will also be distributed as a press release to all MidAmeriCon II press contacts.

The full press release follows the jump.

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Loncon 3 Estimates Razor-Thin Surplus

An initial report shows the 2014 Worldcon with a very small surplus – around £1,000.

The financial review came during a Loncon 3 post-mortem held at Smofcon 32 in December with co-chair Steve Cooper, division heads Helen Montgomery and Eemeli Aro, deputy division head Theresa (TR) Renner, and adviser Vincent Docherty. They distributed a handout at the session that summarized total income at £939,393.77 and expenses at £938,475.33, leaving an estimated surplus of £918.44 (a little less than US$1500).

Vince Docherty says of the initial estimate –

In regard to the figures we provided, note that we made those available with a strong health warning, as they are interim at best, and in the case of the financial figures, still subject to receiving final income or expenses and some items where we suspect a review will result in a cost reduction. These will ideally be resolved in time for the official finance report for Loncon 3 which will be presented at next year’s WSFS Business Meeting.

Kevin Standlee had this to say about the narrow margin:

While the convention was certainly successful, it’s frightening to read the financial figures that currently show a projected surplus of less than £1,000 on a gross of more than £900,000. Basically, Loncon 3 needed every one of those members to hold a once-in-a-generation Worldcon in an incredibly expensive city, and we shouldn’t expect a quick return.

Vince Docherty commented for File 770

I think that Kevin’s point has some general merit: London is very expensive and we knew we needed additional income as compared to Glasgow, though we also knew we would get more members by being in London, as Eastercons there have shown, with their much increased attendance. In fact we had many more members than originally expected, and were able to adjust the budget accordingly, over time. US (and Canadian) Worldcons typically generate about $1m of income and have costs of about three-quarters of that, which means they can afford reimbursements (typically ~$100k), Pass-along-funds and still leave a generous surplus for other things (which sometimes doesn’t get disbursed for many years!) and therefore can have a lighter-touch approach to budgeting.

  • The Loncon 3 committee are still working on the numbers, but to help illustrate the discussion at SMOFcon we provided an informal snapshot of member and financial data for the SMOFcon discussion, which showed it was the largest Worldcon to date in terms of overall registrations (and one of the largest in warm bodies) and the largest in terms of budget in money-of-the-day;
  • We expect L3 will at least have broken-even and might have a small amount of surplus, though it will take some time to finalise the details;
  • This is normal for Worldcons outside North America, given the much higher facilities costs, and is consistent with the last two Glasgow Worldcons, which had final surpluses (before pass-along-funds, as a % of income) of about 3% and 7% respectively (*);
  • The final financial figures also represent the result of a careful approach to budgeting and release of resources over time, which should not be understood as meaning we always expected to only have a safety margin of less than 1% – in fact a contingency of much more than that was always built into the budget and approval to proceed with committing to new things was only done once we were confident we could do so. As mentioned above, we hope the final balance will be more than the snaphshot report shows, once the various outstanding items are closed.

(*)
Financial report by 1995 Worldcon;
Financial report by 2005 Worldcon

Loncon 3, economically, was a much larger project than the previous two UK Worldcons, both held in Glasgow (1995 and 2005).

That included some changes for the better: Loncon 3’s membership income was almost twice that of the 2005 Worldcon. The 2014 bid forwarded £77,830.20 of surplus funds to the con, compared with only £13,605 in 2005. And Loncon 3 received £50,396.75 in pass-along funds from recent Worldcons compared to £41,614 received by the 2005 con.

But Loncon 3 did not have the government help available to the Glasgow Worldcon in 2005, a £88,500 subvention grant provided by the Glasgow City Council to support large events.

That surely would have been welcome, considering the much higher facilities costs in London — Loncon 3’s facilities division estimates it spent £342,172 (about US$534,000). That is both a good deal more than the 2005 Glasgow Worldcon’s facilities expense –  £263,474 – and vastly more than the budget of the San Antonio (2013) Worldcon’s Facilities Division — $82,000.

Other data: Loncon 3 also shared its refined membership and attendance statistics at Smofcon:

The total warm body count (including dealers with passes) was 7,310. The total number of individuals who joined in any capacity was 11,125.

The no-show rate for all attending types was approximately 11.3% (Attending 12.2%, Other 5 Day 18.0% and Day Admissions & Hall Passes 6.4%).

Waiting for Online Hugo Voting and the Voter Packet

The 2014 Hugo Award nominees were announced with a flourish 36 days ago. Although Loncon 3 published the voting form in Progress Report 3 on May 18, fans continue to wait for the committee to open online voting and release the Hugo Voter Packet.

How does Loncon 3’s performance compare with recent Worldcons?

Among the last four Worldcons, Renovation (2011) was quickest to open both paper and online voting, within 5 days after the nominee announcement.

LoneStarCon 3 (2013) needed a full 75 days to start online voting.

The average lapse time to open online voting over the past four years is 28 days.

That means Loncon 3 isn’t going to be the quickest, though we can hope it won’t take as long as last year.

What about delivery of the Hugo Voter Packet?

John Scalzi conceived the idea and put together the early packets. Beginning with 2010, each year’s Worldcon committee has been responsible.

The Renovation committee holds the record here, too — they made the Hugo Voter Packet available within 26 days. LoneStarCon took the longest time, 50 days. The average of the last four Worldcons is 36.75 days.

So – on average – tomorrow is the day the Hugo Voter Packet would be ready.

Worldcon

(Year)

Nominees

Announced

Voting

Available

 

Packet

Available

LonCon 3 (2014)

4/19/2014

(***)

???

LoneStarCon 3 (2013)

3/30/2013

6/19/2013 (**)

5/19/2013

Chicon 7 (2012)

4/7/2012

4/9/2012

5/18/2012

Renovation (2011)

4/24/2011

4/29/2011

5/20/2011

Aussiecon 4 (2010)

4/4/2010

5/4/2010?

5/4/2010

Anticipation (2009)

3/19/2009

5/19/2009

4/22/2009 (*)

Denvention 3 (2008)

3/21/2008

4/2008

4/10/2008 (*)

(*) In these years the packet was created by John Scalzi.

(**) Date online voting opened. Paper voting began being accepted sometime after 5/1/2013 without official announcement.

(***) Print ballot form available in PR #3, posted online 5/18/2014.

LoneStarCon 3 Discs Ready

Syd Weinstein announces he has completed work on the LoneStarCon 3 DVD/BluRay discs. To order, see Sydweinstein.net/DVDs.

LoneStarCon3 Hugo awards – Available in Blu-Ray or DVD version

The Blu-Ray version is NTSC 720p High Definition as recorded on-site. The DVD version is a down convert to standard definition. Combo Packs include the DVD and the Blu-Ray copy.

LoneStarCon3 Masquerade – Available in Blu-Ray or DVD version

The Masquerade disc contains all of the presentations, including the young fans, as well as the awards and the two half time shows: Music with Leslie Fish and The Magic of Drew Heyen for over two hours of content. The presentations and the awards have been edited to add more views, stills, and complete credits for each costume.

Future Worldcon Bids

Who’s bidding for the Worldcon? Here is a summary of ongoing bids pieced together from the presentations at LoneStarCon 3, the 2012 Smofcon, plus other online discussions — and my own Machiavellian speculation thrown in for seasoning.

2016

There is an unopposed bid for Kansas City.

Kansas City, Missouri: KC in 2016 proposes to hold the con August 17-21 at Bartle Hall and the Kansas City Convention Center.

Kansas City is a sentimental favorite in some quarters after losing three Worldcon bids in a decade — 2000 (chairs Jim and Susan Satterfield), 2006 and 2009 (both chaired by Margene Bahm).

The current bid’s co-chairs are Diane Lacey, Jeff Orth, and Ruth Lichtwardt. The committee is Chaz Boston Baden, Margene Bahm, Warren Buff, Aurora Celeste, Glenn Glazer, Barry Haldiman, Sheril Harper, Parris McBride Martin, Tim Miller, James Murray, Paula Murray, Mark Olson, Priscilla Olson, Jesi Lipp Pershing, John C. Pershing II, John J. Platt IV, Keith Stokes, Beth Welsh, Ben Yalow, Jim Young.

George R.R. Martin has plugged the bid.

URL: http://kcin2016.org/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KC2016
Twitter: @KCin2016

2017

There are four bids in various early stages of activity, Helsinki, Montréal, “Northeast Corridor” (USA) and Nippon.

Helsinki, Finland: This is a rollover of Helsinki’s narrowly-defeated bid for 2015. Eemeli Aro will chair, with Karoliina Leikomaa as the bid’s Project Manager. Other committee members are Crystal Huff, Jukka Halme and Hanna Hakkarainen.

They propose to hold the convention in August 2017 at the Messukeskus, the Helsinki Expo and Convention Centre.

The committee has posted details about its goals here, adding that 2017 is Finland’s centennial year as an independent nation.

One bidder observed that many Helsinki supporters who voted in the 2015 race will acquire supporting memberships in the Spokane Worldcon, making cost less of a factor in qualifying as 2017 site selection voters. I still wonder how the Helsinki committee resisted the temptation to bid for 2016, whose Worldcon site will be decided by members of Loncon 3, among them a very large number of European fans.

URL: http://helsinkiin2017.org/ — presently just leads to a Google doc of the bid announcement.
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/helsinkiin2017
Twitter: @helsinkiin2017

Montréal, Canada: Originally announced as a 2019 bid, the Montréal committee has now set its sights on 2017. The Montréal group proposes to return the Worldcon to the Palais de Congrés, the 2009 Worldcon facility, over August 17-21, 2017.

When questioned at the 2012 Smofcon, Montréal responded that its bid co-chairs are Terry Fong and Diane Lacey, and the committee presently included Robbie Bourget, Liz Cano, Bruce Farr, Terry Fong, Eugene Heller, Dina Krause, Diane Lacey, and Jannie Shea.

René Walling, who chaired the 2009 Wordcon and made Montreal’s original bid presentation at the 2011 Smofcon, is no longer named as a member of the committee.

The bid has no dedicated online presence – webpage, Facebook or Twitter.

NEC (Northeast Corridor): Despite a bidcom that combines the crews of BWAWA, Inc. (Baltimore-Washington Area Worldcon Association) and SPRAWL (the Sprawl in William Gibson’s fiction is a colloquial name for the Boston-Atlanta Metropolitan Axis) no one has suggested nicknaming the bid 17 for ’17. But I have hope.

The entire list of cities under consideration by NEC has not been published although Laurie Mann has not been shy about the fact that Pittsburgh is one of them. Washington D.C. and Baltimore have been named elsewhere. Warren Buff and Michael Nelson say they are working with several venues and have offers from most of them. Kris “Nchanter” Snyder is also a bid member.

Recent construction in the Washington D.C. area has made the city a viable Worldcon candidate once again. Washington DC’s Walter E. Washington Convention Center opened in 2003 but not until November 2011 was ground broken on a 1,167-room Marriott Marquis across the street. Fans have long considered such a hotel the essential missing piece in any plan to return the Worldcon to Washington.

At LoneStarCon 3 Buff promised details will be revealed in December, which I expect means at Smofcon.

URL: http://bwawa.org/ (No information currently posted.)

Nippon: The Nippon in 2017 committee has shortlisted three cities as possible sites: Yokohama (where the 2007 Worldcon was held), Chiba, and Shizuoka. They would hold the con in August.

Members of the bid are Andrew A. Adams, Masaharu Imaoka, Mutsumi Imaoka, Kyoko Ogushi, Hideaki Kawai, Koji Kurakata, Tomoki Kodama, Trevor Knudsen, Shigeru Hayashida, Vincent Docherty, Mike “Sparks” Rennie, Megan Totusek.

The Nippon in 2017 bid is immediately handicapped by questions about the huge loss incurred by the 2007 Worldcon in Japan whose full dimensions were not revealed until 2012. Bid spokespersons say funding for 2017 is separate. In a move to bolster their credibility they’ve added Vince Docherty to lead the finance division. A great deal more will need to be done to persuade voters that it is economically practical to hold another Worldcon in Japan.

URL: http://www.nippon2017.org/

2018

A New Orleans group is considering launching a bid.

Members of the New Orleans in 2018 Pre-Bid Committee are Raymond Boudreau (Chair), Michael Guerber, Cordelia (Colin) Murphy, Rebecca Smith, Jessica Styons and Kendall Varnell.

Committee member Jessica Styons told File 770, “Obviously we are in the early stages of building support, gauging interest and staking a claim but we are interested in all comments, offers of support and assistance.” Rebecca Smith, chair of CONtraflow, is part of the bid.

URL: http://neworleansin2018.org/Home.html

2019

Two bids are on the radar for 2019.

Dublin, Ireland: James Bacon unveiled the Dublin bid at LoneStarCon 3 and it will officially launch next year at LonCon 3.

They propose to hold the Worldcon in the Convention Centre Dublin (CCD) from August 14-19, 2019. There are 1,268 hotel rooms are available within 850 meters or half a mile of the convention center.

The website lists the bid committee’s “Home Team” as:

Shelly Coleman, Carol Connolly, Pat Fanning, Malcolm Hutchison, Gareth Kavanagh, Dave Lally, Ted Lee, Ruth Long, Aisling Lynch, Cat McGrath, Maura McHugh, Alissa McKersie, CE Murphy, Sonia Murphy, Brian Nisbet, Mick O’Connor, Rod O’Hanlon, Peadar Ó’Guilín, Trish O’Flaherty, Sorcha Power, Helen Ryder, Philippa Ryder, Lynda E. Rucker, James Shields, Sten Thaning, Julian West, Nicholas Whyte.

And its “Away Team” includes:

Eemeli Aro, Claire Brialey, Liz Batty, Steve Cooper, John Dowd, Vincent Docherty, Carolina Gómez Lagerlöf, Deb Geisler, Colin Harris, Nigel Furlong, Mark Herrup, Edward James, Alice Lawson, Mark Meenan, Farah Mendlesohn, Helen Montgomery, Mark Plummer, TR Renner, Ian Stockdale, Geri Sullivan, Paul Taylor, Kees Van Toorn.

Though not listed, I suspect James Bacon’s name also belongs somewhere in the mix too…

URL: http://dublin2019.com/
Facebook: http://facebook.com/dublin2019
Twitter: @Dublin2019

France: Is there a genuine French bid? Who is behind it? Is it a plan or just a wish?

So far as I have been able to find out, the torch is being carried by a small number of visionaries both in and out of French fandom.  

Created early this year, a Paris in 2019 webpage invited queries which were answered by UK fan David Steere. He said this is a bid by fans in the UK and France that aims to launch at LonCon 3.

However, since 2009 there has been a Facebook club, Pour l’organisation dune WorldCon SF en France. The initial entry credits Florence Dolisi with the idea to bid for France, inspired by the 2009 Worldcon in Quebec. That post suggested an attitude of openness to anybody who might actually deliver the con —

At the moment there no identified structure, no Committee, no plan of action, but an obvious willingness, now the movement is launched, to lead, and to be able to get useful. [Rendered into English by Google Translate.]

In April 2013, Bernard Henninger collected 33 names of fans willing to support the idea. And Henninger wrote again in August that the idea created a stir at the 2013 Eurocon in the Ukraine – including a show of interest from Finnish fan Eemeli Aro.

So it remains to be seen whether enough French fans want a Worldcon for a solid bid to emerge anytime in the future.

Paris in 2019 URL: https://sites.google.com/site/parisin2019/

France in 2019 Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Pour-lorganisation-dune-WorldCon-SF-en-France-/177006215665

2020

The one serious bid is for New Zealand.

New Zealand in 2020 is led by Norman Cates, a past DUFF delegate. The general committee members are Kevin Maclean (New Zealand), Maree Pavletich (New Zealand), Lynelle Howell (New Zealand), Malcolm Fletcher (New Zealand), Louise McCully (New Zealand), Struan Judd (New Zealand), Daphne Lawless, Andrew Ivamy (Queensland, AU Agent), James Shields (European Agent).

They have yet to settle on which of the country’s two main islands they’d hold a Worldcon. There are said to be two facilities in Auckland and one in Wellington that could support a 1500-3000 member con. They would hold the con anywhere from late June to late August.

URL: http://www.nzin2020.org/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NZin2020

And beyond…

At LSC3 a potential 2021 North Texas bid was announced by FenCon’s Tim Miller.

There are also plans for a Chicago in 2022 bid.

Resources:

Fannish Inquisition questionnaires submitted to Smofcon 30 (December 2012).

Kansas City, Worldcon Bid, 2016
Montreal, Worldcon Bid, 2017
Nippon, Worldcon Bid, 2017
New Zealand, Worldcon Bid, 2020

Videos of Worldcon bid presentations at LoneStarCon 3 (September 2013) taken by Lisa Hayes.

Part 6: Nippon 2017 Bid
Part 7: Montreal 2017 Bid
Part 8: Baltimore-Washingon in 2017 or later Exploratory Committee
Part 9: Dublin in 2019
Part 10: New Zealand in 2020
Part 11: North Texas in 2021

Status of LSC3 Hugo/Masquerade Videos

The Hugo Awards available at no charge via Ustream is a copy “corrected” and uploaded on September 10. Syd Weinstein reports that since then he has “performed a few more edits to clean it up a bit more.” That version can be ordered from the http://www.sydweinstein.net/DVDs.htm site. He adds:

The video was recorded in NTSC at 720p High Definition.  The Blu-Ray is recorded at this resolution.  The DVD, of course, is a down convert to Standard Definition NTSC television.

I will now start production work on the Masquerade.  This will take a bit longer as there is a large amount of work to add the still photographs and the full costuming credits to the production.

Weinstein asks for patience while he finishes this work, reminding fans he is a volunteer who does all this editing and disc production outside of normal business hours.

Cornell Apologizes for Smof Routine

Paul Cornell, LoneStarCon 3’s Toastmaster, has posted an apology for his Hugo Awards routine about “Smofs” and “Smurfs”.

“Smurfs” I need hardly explain. “Smofs” is an acronym for “Secret Masters of Fandom” that was coined as a pejorative but in the 1970s evolved into a humorous self-reference freely used by many sf conrunners.

However, as we have been going through an especially unhappy season with lots of blogging about the evil, nasty conrunners, some of which has been reported here, there’s been a trend back toward the word having a pejorative meaning in some circles. Cornell took inspiration from that for a string of jokes during the Hugo Ceremonies.

My immediate reaction as I listened to him tell the jokes was thud-thud-thud. I didn’t think it was a gracious way to treat the people putting on LoneStarCon 3 whose hospitality Cornell symbolized as Toastmaster. Yet what I’ve been reading online is so much worse I just stuffed it — I sent a mild joke to CoverItLive saying the material suited the blue background we were seeing on the broadcast.

On the other hand, some fans were apoplectic. One told Cornell to his face what he thought. Others explained their reaction in e-mails.

And now Cornell has done something you never see happen in the blogosphere. He apologized. He said, in part —

I think I broke two rules which I hold other people to, and it’s taken me days of searching my conscience to realise that.

Firstly, I always say that when someone tells you they’re offended, they’re not lying. One has to deal with the offence one has caused as real, and not regard such complaints as ill-conceived or somehow ‘wrong’. Many ‘smofs’ have written to me in support, saying they felt gently teased, that it was all in good fun, but the ones for whom it felt like a personal insult don’t deserve to have their feelings ignored.  One reaction is as ‘true’ as the other.

Secondly, while I’m sure there are those among the ranks of ‘Smofs’ who deserve a little satire, I’m also sure there are those who absolutely do not.  My error was to tar them all with the same brush, to not be precise, but instead to hurt a range of people through the term they identify with.  ‘Things are complicated’ as our heroes said in Knight and Squire.  I don’t like it when other groups are made into folk devils, but there I was doing it.  It’s terrifyingly easy and tempting to follow the crowd and go for that sort of laugh.  It’s also a very bad thing to do.

I’ve only quoted a little to give you an indication of what he felt. It’s worth your time to go over and read it in full.