2023 Hugo Nomination Report Has Unexplained Ineligibility Rulings; Also Reveals Who Declined

The 2023 Hugo Award Stats Final report posted today on the official Hugo Awards website revealed that the Chengdu Worldcon’s Hugo award subcommittee made many startling and sometimes unexplained rulings.

R. F. Kuang’s novel Babel, winner of the 2023 Nebula and Locus Awards, was ruled “not eligible” without explanation, even though it had the third most nominations. The EPH point calculation used to determine the Hugo finalists shows the count for Babel was stopped in the first round, and it accrued no more points when other works were eliminated in the automatic runoff.

(The Google Translate rendering of the Chinese is “Not eligible for nomination.”)

Paul Weimer was another “not eligible” kept off the ballot without explanation, despite having been a Best Fan Writer finalist for the past three years. Weimer had the third most nominating votes this year – and in that category the EPH calculation was completed, showing he ended up with the second highest point-count.

A third such “not eligible” was Xiran Jay Zhao, ruled out of the Astounding Award. As noted here in a comment on the announcement post, it should be impossible for a first-year-of-eligibility Astounding Award finalist to be ineligible the following year unless either they already won the award or the original Hugo committee (Chicon 8) erred in their eligibility determination.

And episode 6 of Neil Gaiman’s series The Sandman (“The Sound of Her Wings”) was labeled “not eligible” without explanation, while the series itself was disqualified from Best Dramatic – Long Form under Rule 3.8.3. The WSFS Constitution’s rule 3.8.3 says a series can be a Best Dramatic Presentation – Long Form finalist, or an episode of the series can be a Best Dramatic Presentation – Short Form finalist, but only one or the other may be on the ballot, the nod going to whichever gets the most nominating votes. Once the episode was removed there was no longer a rule 3.8.3 conflict. Keeping Neil Gaiman’s work off the ballot entirely was the result, however explained.

File 770 asked Dave McCarty, a Chengdu Worldcon vice-chair and co-head of the Hugo Awards Selection Executive Division, the reason for these “not eligible” rulings. He replied:

After reviewing the Constitution and the rules we must follow, the administration team determined those works/persons were not eligible.

File 770 then asked Kevin Standlee, among the best-known interpreters of the WSFS Constitution, what rules there could be in addition to the Constitution. Standlee pointed me to his article posted today, “Elections Have Consequences”.

…An overwhelming majority of the members of WSFS who voted on the site of the 2023 Worldcon (at the 2021 Worldcon in DC) selected Chengdu, China as the host of the 2023 Worldcon. That meant that the members of WSFS who expressed an opinion accepted that the convention would be held under Chinese legal conditions….

…When it comes to local law, this could end up applying anywhere. Here’s an example I can use because as far as I know, there are no Worldcon bids for Florida at this time. Imagine a Worldcon held in Florida. It would be subject to US and Florida law (and any smaller government subdivision). Given legislation passed by Florida, it would not surprise me if such a hypothetical Florida Worldcon’s Hugo Administration Subcommittee would disqualify any work with LGBTQ+ content, any work with an LGBTQ+ author, or any LGBTQ+ individual, because the state has declared them all illegal under things like their “Don’t Say Gay or Trans” laws and related legislation….

Fans are clearly expected to infer these Hugo eligibility decisions were made to comply with Chinese rules or authority, but no one is saying what Chinese rules the Hugo subcommittee was operating under, unlike Standlee’s hypothetical which is based on Florida laws and policies that can actually be pointed to. Another unaddressed question is whether the administrators made these decisions on their own, voluntarily, because they were afraid not to disqualify certain people, or because they were told by someone in authority that’s what they should do.

Paul Weimer has written a response to being ruled ineligible on his Patreon – “Chengdu, I want some answers. Dave McCarty, I want an explanation. I am owed one.”

OTHER RULINGS. In a few cases, the report explains an item’s ineligibility in a footnote.

Best Related WorkThe History of Chinese Science Fiction in the 20th Century was disqualified because one of the authors was on the Hugo subcommittee. 

The Art of Ghost of Tsushima was first published in 2020.

Best Dramatic Presentation – Long FormAndor (Season 1) and Sandman – Rule 3.8.3 (knocked off the ballot because individual episodes got more votes in the Short Form category)

(And yet down below the individual episode of Sandman was knocked off the ballot as an unexplained “not eligible.” What kind of Catch-22 is that?)

Best Dramatic Presentation – Short Form – The Severance episode was a Rule 3.8.3 disqualification going the other direction (the series made the ballot).

The Deep. — Deep Sea, which is the Chinese translation given in the report, is said in a Chinese footnote to have been “published years ago.” (Alternatively, this could refer to the animated movie Deep Sea, whose release date per IMDB was 2023, later than the eligibility period.)

In one case it is possible to deduce the likely reason for the “not eligible” ruling though not explicitly said in the report.

Novelette – “Color the World” by Congyun “Mu Ming” Gu was first published in 2019 (see “Stories 小说 – Congyun “Mu Ming” Gu”).

But it is not explained why Hai Ya’s “Fogong Temple Pagoda” was ineligible for Best Short Story, although the problem must not have been with the author because his “Space-Time Painter” won the Best Novella Hugo.

DECLINED NOMINATIONS. S. B. Divya’s public announcement about declining two Hugo nominations encouraged speculation at the time that many more people were following suit as a political protest. In fact there were not that many refusals, and it’s not demonstrable that any of the others were protests.

Who declined?

Becky Chambers — (Novella – “A Prayer for the Crown-Shy”)

S. B. Divya — (Novelette “Two Hands, Wrapped in Gold”; also removed her name from the list of Hugo-nominated semiprozine Escape Pod’s team members. See “Why S. B. Divya Declined Two Hugo Nominations”.)

Prey – (film – from Best Dramatic Presentation – Long Form)

Guo Jian – (from Best Professional Artist)

CUI BONO. Who got on because people declined?

Novella Where the Drowned Girls Go by Seanan McGuire – which went on to win the Best Novella Hugo.

Novelette – “Murder by Pixel: Crime and Responsibility in the Digital Darkness” by S. L. Huang

Best Professional Artist – Zhang Jian

Who got on where works or people were declared “not eligible” for one reason or another?

Best NovelThe Daughter of Doctor Moreau by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Best Novelette – “If You Find Yourself Speaking to God, Address God with the Informal You” by John Chu

Best Short Story – “Resurrection” by Ren Qing

Best Related WorkThe Ghost of Workshops Past by S.L. Huang and Buffalito World Outreach Project by Lawrence M. Schoen

Best Dramatic PresentationAvatar: Way of Water; Black Panther: Wakanda Forever; Severance (season 1)

Best Fan Writer — HeavenDule

ERROR WILL BE CORRECTED. In the Best Novelette category “Turing Food Court” appears on two different lines of the report. Hugo Administrator Dave McCarty explained, “It 100% is a copy/paste error that I missed in the dozens of back and forths between me and the Chinese folks handling translations.”

UPDATE 01/20/2024. The amended report is now up. Here is the corrected Novelette page. (Thanks to Mr. Octopus for the story.)


Update 01/28/2024: Added a paragraph to make the ineligibility of Neil Gaiman’s works part of the lede. That had only been discussed in the category analyses.


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327 thoughts on “2023 Hugo Nomination Report Has Unexplained Ineligibility Rulings; Also Reveals Who Declined

  1. @Cheryl S.:

    The only mechanism (pending a major rearrangement of the Hugos process) is social pressure. Which starts with determining who from the Chengdu committee is currently on the Glasgow committee. Ideally, their personal friends would have more-in-sorrow-than-in-anger conversations with them and persuade them to withdraw For Everyone’s Good. Next step is to start talking to people at Glasgow.

    What a fractal clusterfuck.

  2. @Doctor Science

    What a fractal clusterfuck.

    True that. Ben Yalow is prominently noted in both the Chengdu and Glasgow concom pages, but I’ve gone pretty far down Glasgow’s extensive list without seeing other duplicates.

  3. I don’t understand what’s to be gained by any sort of tampering with the Hugos voting….
    While there might be some value to the authors, for marketing value… there’s nothing to be materially gained by the committee that I can see….
    So… why?
    It is often said to “follow the money.” But, there’s no proverbial “money.”

  4. Pingback: What's Going On With the 2023 Hugo Awards? - MB Educate You

  5. @Randy: Well, the first possibility to consider is that the committee was protecting themselves legally from being threatened by the Chinese government for giving recognition to politically controversial works or authors, whether that pressure came from outsiders or from self-censorship.

    Another possibility is that the committee members did not actually think they would be arrested for recognizing certain works or authors, but that those works or authors were controversial enough that the convention’s corporate sponsors might withdraw their financial support, thus putting the success of the convention at risk.

  6. Teemu Leisti on January 23, 2024 at 10:27 am said:

    Sorry, I’m a bit autistic, and don’t always get humour, especially online.

    No need to apologize. But thank you. Humor is subjective and just because I think something I write is funny, does not mean it is. Quite the opposite.

  7. RedWombat on January 22, 2024 at 5:36 pm said:

    Kevin, you were LITERALLY the person who told me that this was out of the question years ago, because attendees wouldn’t want another email.

    Let’s be honest, there’s a lot of gatekeeping going on around Business Meetings.

    People who want to deal with an issue need to learn an arcane system to even submit business, much less argue it. For all that the usual crew go on that the purpose of the rules is to make things civil and sane, it also ensures that the majority of the Convention is turned off by the process.

    It hurts to say this. I consider Kevin a friend, and within the framework of RROO, does a masterful job of running meetings.

    But it ain’t accessible to the average fan.

    But, heck. Those are the rules we must follow, right?

  8. @Chris R – which rule, among the rules that we must follow, did you follow?
    (sarcasm)

  9. Ed Green on January 23, 2024 at 8:40 pm said:

    But it ain’t accessible to the average fan.

    Anyone want to suggest a better way? I have already done so: Let the members elect representatives to do the rule-making, and then allow them to vote on whatever that elected group does. This is how government works in the two states in which I’ve lived (California and Nevada), and I don’t think most people want anything more than that.

    I’m certainly willing to at least listen to proposals for workable alternative governance systems that don’t amount to “Do what I personally tell you to do, and ignore everyone else.”

    By the way, I have been told that I must not reply to any questions regarding how WSFS’s IP is managed, so don’t be offended if I don’t answer those questions.

  10. Lots of currently unworkable ideas. I remember the whole Westercon Robert’s/Sturgis cycle, so there is hesitation on my part to seriously suggest “simplify” the procedural system.

    I will say that electing Representatives, while seems to be a quick fix, does not make it more accessible to the average fan.

    I know I’m exhibiting a somewhat typical behavior (“There’s a problem, do something to fix it that makes me happy!”), but Business Meeting fandom is far too intimidating to do more than that.

  11. @Joshua K.
    My understanding is that the creators ruled “ineligible” (Gaiman, Kuang, Weimer) may have at one time or another expressed criticism in some form of China’s authoritarian regime.
    Whether the rulings of ineligibility were due to self-censorship or outside pressure, we are likely to never know, at least for some time.
    That the rulings of ineligibility are based in reaction on some level to the criticism those creators expressed is also something that will likely never be admitted.
    The whole situation is positively Orwellian.

  12. Sad to report that the chair of Glasgow 2024 has refused to enact the incapacity clause against Chengdu 2023. The defence is that the clause uses the word “current Worldcon”, and since the Hugo Administration hid what they had done till now they have run out the clock and evaded action. They decline to state if they think Chengdu 2023 satisfied it’s obligations to the WSFS. They instead suggest the issue should be brought up at the next Business Meeting. (Reminder, WSFS Business meetings only occur at Worldcons, require physical presence at the meeting, prior written notification of business to be conducted with a second signing the motion, and the Meetings are strictly conducted under Robert’s Rule of Order with the WSFS Presiding Officer having complete control of the floor, and anything that is more substantive than a non-binding resolution means doing it all over again in a year’s time to get it ratified.)

    I have asked the chair of Glasgow 2024 and the WSFS Presiding officer of 2024 to clarify on what date Chengdu 2023 stopped being the Current Worldcon, and where this is defined in the WSFS. However, the last reply from the chair included the phrase “This correspondence is therefore closed.” and that does not indicate I will receive a reply.

    I think the “Current Worldcon” reading used to prevent enacting of the incapacity clause is a terrible precedent. It basically says “Just hide your failures, run out the clock, then nothing can be done and your decisions will stand.” And it renders the Incapacity Clause a dead letter, if the Current Worldcon insists it will be able to perform it’s duties, but then does not do so.

    The response also ignores what I think is a general principle that it is entirely legitimate to backdate action where someone had attempted to withhold information to prevent action against them. The incapacity of the Hugo Administrator to perform their duties indisputably occurred while they were the Current Worldcon, they delayed the release of information that would cause investigation to them. Even if you argue that they are no longer the Current Worldcon, you can’t argue that the incapacity and the triggering event that invoked the Incapacity Clause happened while they were. It is a choice solely made by Glasgow 2024’s chair to decide that they are not going to enforce the clause because of the Hugo Administrator’s delaying actions.

    It seems to me this is a decision made to justify inaction, not a decision made by someone who agrees we should be trying to do something.

    If you wanted to know if something was going to be done, your answer is “No.” This will be buried in the “normal” two years of delay and debate of the WSFS Business Meeting. By which point, I suspect the Worldcon will be in terminal decline due to a lack of qualified and suitable future bids after entirely alienating the fandom community.

  13. Jay Blanc:

    I have asked the chair of Glasgow 2024 and the WSFS Presiding officer of 2024 to clarify on what date Chengdu 2023 stopped being the Current Worldcon, and where this is defined in the WSFS.

    While I don’t know if it’s officially defined in the constitution, my understanding is that the changeover happens the moment the gavel is dropped at the end of the previous Worldcon’s closing ceremony. Yes, this may mean that Dave found a gap to wriggle through in regards to the current mess. And yes, this may mean we need to go through the channels we have established in order to fix the mess.

    I don’t necessarily like either the current mess or the way Worldcon governance works, but just because somebody flouts the rules doesn’t mean we can just go tearing a hole through the rest of the rules in order to fix the flouted one.

  14. @Katster

    I was unable to find anywhere in the WSFS constitution that says when a Worldcon ceases being Current. Nor is there an explicit bar on what is ordinary practice to back-date action for cause to the date it happened, not the date it was discovered.

    Meaning it’s entirely open to interpretation, so it’s a decision by the Glasgow 2024 Chair to decide they can’t do anything.

  15. but just because somebody flouts the rules doesn’t mean we can just go tearing a hole through the rest of the rules in order to fix the flouted one.

    During my military career, I learned that policy, procedures and regulations are critical to making sure the unit functions day to day.

    I also learned that when you’re engaged in actual operations, you have to willing to ditch all of that to get through the crisis.

    We are closer to a crisis than day to day operations.

  16. Meaning it’s entirely open to interpretation, so it’s a decision by the Glasgow 2024 Chair to decide they can’t do anything.

    Ah, the “Rules we must obey” doctrine.

    It does set a precedent.

  17. “Sad to report that the chair of Glasgow 2024 has refused to enact the incapacity clause against Chengdu 2023.”

    Jay,

    You are running up against something that I have noted many times before: The rules of WSFS and “Worldcon” are almost intentionally set up in such a way as to prevent anyone from ever being accountable for anything, or to anyone. The evasive Glasgow responses to your inquiries are just another instance of that lack of accountability raising its head and letting itself be seen.

  18. Video of the Glasgow 2024 Chair:

    <reads Jay Blanc’s email>

    Glasgow 2024 Chair: “Jay Blanc demands that I do a thing… What am I going to do NOW?”

  19. @Mike Glyer

    Don’t you think the attitude that “We should only do things that people of authority want done” might be problematic, and related to the situation the WSFS finds itself in?

  20. “I’m going to Disneyland!”

    I don’t blame the Glasgow 2024 Chair one bit for not wanting to touch this with a 5000 mile pole.

  21. @Laura
    I think if the Glasgow chair thinks they’re going to dodge this, one way or the other, they are wildly optimistic. Which strikes me as deeply unusual for someone I presume is Scotts

  22. I think the only thing that Glasgow could do is to completely rerun the 2023 Hugos alongside the 2024 Hugos, and that would do far more damage to fandom and the Hugos than declining to get involved and waiting for the Business Meeting to do something.

  23. Oh, I imagine they will probably give some assurances about not screwing up the Hugos like Chengdu. And maybe some other effort at restoring confidence. But doing what Jay wants? Polling members about redoing the 2023 Hugos or I don’t know what other repercussions? I think that’s a landmine they should stay away from.

  24. Pingback: The debacle around the 2023 Hugo Awards « BlogOfTheMoon

  25. I think the only thing that Glasgow could do…

    How much can they actually do outside of the Business Meetings?
    I mean, they can name a special category, but because the totals were released after Chengdu’s Business Meeting concluded, their hands may be tied.

    The Hugo website says:

    Works may be granted a specific extension of their eligibility by the WSFS Business Meeting

    (does that also cover awards to people, such as the Astounding?)

    Iff the stats were available right after the award ceremony and an error was discovered, the BizMtg could presumably extend its eligibility before the con ended, so next year’s voters could nominate it again.

    But the next BizMtg isn’t until Glasgow, by which time it’s too late for the pebbles to vote.

    Furthermore, any attempts to put works on the 2024 ballot runs afoul of this clause in the WSFS Constitution:

    3.2.2: A work shall not be eligible if in a prior year it received sufficient nominations to appear on the final award ballot.

    That would seem to bar all the disqualified works under discussion.

    So what, if anything, can WSFS do for the wrongly-disqualified people and works?

  26. So what, if anything, can WSFS do for the wrongly-disqualified people and works?

    Set up a dunk tank with Dave McCarty in it in the dealer’s room in Glasgow?

  27. @MIke Glyer:
    Dear Mr. Glyer, you might have received my first review of Hugo 2023. I am sorry for using something emotional in this essay but the only thing I want to express is that the Hugo is much worse than the investigation from the government.
    I would appreciate it if you could post it on File770.
    Many thanks!

  28. Who’s going to be handing out the “These are the rules we must follow” ribbons at Glasgow?

  29. After reviewing the Constitution and the rules we must follow, the administration team determined those works/persons were not eligible.

    This response from the Hugo administrators takes me back several years.

    Back then I had just been to one of several Worldcons I have attended since (and including) Brighton, 1979, and so was eligible to Hugo nominate the following year. I wanted to include The Martian by Andy Weir but was a little confused by the WSFS rules and constitution as to whether it was eligible? Before its Del Rey UK release, it had been published in 2013 on Amazon but this was really self-publication (not publication by a commercial publisher) and, notwithstanding that, it had previously been published on Weir’s own blog chapter by chapter. So was it eligible? What counted as the year of publication even allowing for a holdover year the rules permit?

    So I reached out to ask that year’s Hugo administrators only to receive a somewhat curt reply that just gave me to a link to the constitution and same rules that I found perplexing: there was not clarification I sought.

    Some (most?) Worldcon runners and Hugo administrators are quite simply brilliant. Others, sadly, are brusque virtually to the point of rudeness.

    If memory serves, that year the novel missed out on Hugo short-listing. However, the following year the film won convincingly by over a couple of hundred over the next most popular choice, the strokable Mad Max: Furry Road.

    Conversely, Kevin Standlee is to be commended to at least giving a possible/hypothetical explanation, especially as he is not in a position to be definitive.

    I am genuinely surprised at the administrators’ silence, especially as the nominating stats’ release was delayed, so they had time to prepare explanations. I would have thought that it would be in their, as well as the Hugo-voting Worldcon community’s (let alone the disqualified authors), interest to have full explanations ready. Not having so can only lead to speculation: some of it possibly wild. But, hey, what do I know…

    Meanwhile, as something of a scientist, I was interested in, and grateful for, this analysis.

    https://alpennia.com/blog/comparison-hugo-nomination-distribution-statistics

    And thanks to Mike for his footnotes summary. (I had been off line for three days (no home internet having read too much Gibson, Brunner, Orwell etc) and no smartphone (same plus rare earth element environmental sustainability issues) and so had not yet had a chance to deep dive into the PDF.)

    Finally, with regard to Sandman, I totally get the reasoning for 3.8.3: If any series and a subset series thereof both receive sufficient nominations to appear on the final ballot, only the version which received more nominations shall appear.

    However, it arguably would be fairer to carry the number of nominations over from one to the other. Having said that, I have long hated the Dramatic Presentation short form. What happens is that episodes from the same series end up on the long-list splitting the vote. Far better to have Long Form for Films, ditching the short form and have TV series instead with the year of eligibility being linked to the final episode of a season. That way more series end up on the ballot. Spread the love. (As a certain Chuck might say.)

  30. Jonathan C : I reached out to ask that year’s Hugo administrators only to receive a somewhat curt reply that just gave me to a link to the constitution and same rules that I found perplexing: there was not clarification I sought.

    Hugo Administrators never rule on eligibility before the fact (and I absolutely understand the rationale for not doing so; they’ve got way too much to deal with already, without having to address a multitude of hypotheticals thrown at them by Hugo nominators). What you see as a puzzling unwillingness to respond to a single request about eligibility, I see as a very reasonable unwillingness to respond to requests about the eligibility of dozens of works and creators.

    I know you’ve been a long-time reader here of many years. So you know that there’s a lot of crowd-sourced discussion here about eligibility of various works and creators.

    The Martian was self-published in the year prior to being trad-pubbed. And the Hugo rules specify that “first (public) publication” = first publication. So everyone here knew that it was not eligible — but we also knew that the Astounding Award has a 2-year eligibility span for an author’s first work published in SWFA-eligible markets (in which self-publication, at the time, was not included) and he was eligible for that, so that’s what we nominated him for.

  31. @JJ:

    There’s once case pertinent to the 2023 Hugos where the Hugo team should make a statement before nominations close about eligibility.

    WSFS 3.13 states “No member of the current Worldcon Committee or any publications closely connected with a member of the Committee shall be eligible for an Award.” If this was in effect, numerous works and individuals who made it onto the finalist lists should have been rejected as ineligible. (The concom has numerous people in editorial/managerial roles at SF World and 8 Light Minutes, so the works they wrote or edited, or they themselves in the editor categories should be ineligible.)

    However 3.13 goes on to state “However, should the Committee delegate all authority under this Article to a Subcommittee whose decisions are irrevocable by the Worldcon Committee, then this exclusion shall apply to members of the Subcommittee only.” If that clause was activated, then indeed all those finalists are eligible. (And don’t get me wrong, I’m very happy that they were included.)

    However, when did the Hugo team ever indicate to nominators that this decision to delegate authority had been made. By default, informed nominators should have avoided nominating the relevant works or individuals so that their nominations weren’t wasted. Given that this would be dependent on a decision made by the con and/or Hugo committee, IMHO they should have communicated it.

    The WSFS rules of course don’t go into any practical detail like that. They also don’t consider how meaningful that is when 4 of the Hugo team (50%) are also on the wider con committee; it doesn’t exactly give you the feeling they are completely independent.

  32. @Lydia Nickerson

    I once suggested an email sent when people registered for Worldcon saying “Welcome to the WSFS! Did you know there’s a business meeting that you can attend and make your voice heard?” but was told that was out of the question because people hate getting more email.

    I think it’s a good idea myself. OTOH, In 2014, the convention newsletter put out an entire issue devoted to the Business Meeting. In my opinion, it did not affect attendance that much. Nevertheless, I think it’s a good idea. Besides the core of people who attend most meetings, there’s a sort of penumbra of people who don’t regularly attend, but do monitor what happens, so they can show up if something that matters to them comes before the meeting — usually so they can vote it down, it appears to me.

    There is no doubt that the schedule in Chengdu worldcon is sdet up to prevent most of the attendance from the business meeting.

  33. @Zimozi Natsuco

    There is no doubt that the schedule in Chengdu worldcon is sdet up to prevent most of the attendance from the business meeting.

    To be fair to Chengdu, in practice it has always been an exclusive choice between attending the Worldcon panels you want to attend, and participating in the Business meeting. This is why the WSFS is run by people more interested in the Business meeting than the rest of Worldcon. I know first hand it’s practicably impossible to be ops on a Worldcon at the same time as participating in the Business meetings.

    This is also why most other convention organisations hold their Business meeting at a different time than the actual convention.

  34. @Jay Blanc

    I think that may have been a reference to the fact that the business meetings were held in a separate building (“the Meteor pavilion” or something like that), outside of the main museum, which didn’t appear on any of the venue maps I saw, and from the accounts of (IIRC) Kevin Standlee, was poorly signposted and/or had awkward accessibility.

  35. @John S / ErsatzCulture

    I concede the point that they may have been intentionally making the Business Meeting hard to access, while it’s merely been unintentional in past Worldcons.

  36. @Jay Blanc – you asked a question and got an answer. Neil didn’t say that the chair should do what you asked of them, just that they should answer your question. Which they did.

  37. John S / ErsatzCulture on January 25, 2024 at 4:55 am said:

    I think that may have been a reference to the fact that the business meetings were held in a separate building (“the Meteor pavilion” or something like that), outside of the main museum, which didn’t appear on any of the venue maps I saw, and from the accounts of (IIRC) Kevin Standlee, was poorly signposted and/or had awkward accessibility.

    I have finally gone ahead and dug up the image I found of the Chengdu Science Fiction Museum (CSFM) and surrounding area and drawn in the approximate walking path between the main entrance and Meteor Hall, the smaller building in which the Business Meeting was held. You can view it on my Flickr account.

    The straight line segment below the lower-left side of the CSFM was used as a parking area for various service vehicles, and when I first went that way, I thought it was a prohibited area; however, if you followed the path, you would turn up at Meteor Hall. I estimated it to be around 150 m, but I didn’t have my pedometer with me, nor did I count the Standlee Units (my strides, for those who don’t know the reverence).

    I did complain to the Chairs on the first morning of the convention about how confusing this might be. The next day, a number of large signs appeared pointing to the Business Meeting. How much this helped, I do not know.

    From this view, you might get the idea that there were more direct paths; however, all of the other paths, including the one that would be more convenient if you were coming straight to the meeting from where the shuttle bus stops were at the bottom of the photo, where blocked off with barriers.

    Trying to be fair here: aside from how it was awkward to access, it really was a good building in which to hold the meeting. They dedicated it to WSFS business for the entire convention. That is, there weren’t other program items scheduled there, so you didn’t have people showing up for the next item or any problems if you ran over the scheduled time. It had a “back room” in which we were provided a high-duty photocopier that we put to use making copies of the agenda and other handouts.

    In addition, while this was awkward, I do not think it was any more so that the WSFS BM held in 2015 in Glasgow (it was in the “Armadillo” rather than the main hall) or in 2016 in Kansas City, which was in a separate building of the Convention Center, across the street from where the rest of the convention was happening. There are logistical reasons for this sort of thing happening. Programming doesn’t like tying up a room for hours on end, and they really don’t like have an item that might run over and can’t be kicked out.

    The converse happened in Helsinki, where we had a good room in a high-traffic area, and then had people complaining about us hogging up limited programming space with something as irrelevant as the Business Meeting. It really is a nearly no-win scenario for conrunners.

  38. This is also why most other convention organisations hold their Business meeting at a different time than the actual convention.

    To my knowledge, which is not universal, most of those “other convention organisations” are not “the entire membership of the convention,” but are instead either small boards of directors or a much-smaller-than-the-entire-convention-membership group of, for lack of a better term, “corporate members.”

    I can think of few better ways of shrinking the attendance of the Worldcon Business Meeting while simultaneously generating shrieks of “cover up!” than holding it at a different time and place than the Worldcon. Now of course if the entire membership had a way to elect representatives to a body that met at different times and places, particularly if those meetings could be watched online by the entire membership (or at least those with computer/internet access), it would be easier to make this happen. But it does appear to me that most people here are opposed to this. Possibly I’m misunderstanding what I’m reading.

  39. Some words in my incomplete long essay might illustrate this question.
    I mean that it would be still difficult if Mr Standlee have persuaded the committee to put more signs to show the direction of the meeting room. As to me, I spent over 1 hour to find the hall wandering in the huge park.

  40. “Now of course if the entire membership had a way to elect representatives to a body that met at different times and places, particularly if those meetings could be watched online by the entire membership (or at least those with computer/internet access), it would be easier to make this happen.”

    You mean like say, having an incorporated association named WSFS that had an elected board of directors and officers? Like virtually every lawyer who has looked at this has said is something that WSFS really should do?

  41. The conflict between “participate in Worldcon” and “participate in WSFS business meetings” is one of the strong arguments for coming up with a new approach to WSFS business meetings. In recent years, I’ve tried to make a point of attending the business meetings as I can, but I also enjoy participating in and attending programming, and I’ve gotten in the habit of volunteering for registration, which means that sometimes the best I can do is try to pop in and out of the business meeting for key votes — which is not something I think is procedurally healthy.

    While we’re considering and discussing decoupling various functions around WSFS and Worldcon, I think we should be giving strong consideration to creating a WSFS management system that does not require physical presence to participate — for very many reasons. Being able to schedule it outside of the convention itself (in time and space) would have many benefits. Not least, it would also require coming up with a structure that does not rely on Roberts Rules.

  42. By the way, Zimozi Natsuco, I would like to express my appreciation for your presence here in the conversation and the experiences and opinions you have been sharing. I greatly value your contributions here (and elsewhere).

  43. @Kevin Standlee

    Okay, but what if you held the Business Meeting the day before or the day after the Convention. Then those who want to be involved merely need stay another day, or gods forbid, participate remotely.

    I mean, practically speaking, is there even anything in the Business Meeting that couldn’t be conducted by simple online correspondence. Proposals and amendments already have to be submitted far in advance. The limited debate is… limited, and not really a cross-examination of the proposals. In all practical terms, the Buisness Meeting is a pro-forma parliament that simply goes through appropriate motions on things that people made up their minds on well before turning up to vote.

    Is there anything that happens in the Buisness meeting that couldn’t be better handled by a formalised web site that had moderated debate on written proposals? Wikipedia have managed, somehow, to operate an organisation with many controversies and disputes resolved purely through online discussion amongst it’s stake holders. It’s been going a couple of decades now without collapse that you suggest must occur from doing it their way.

  44. @Jay Blanc
    The (for lack of a better term) “Bozo filter” on participating in the business meeting is physical attendance at Worldcon. Everyone who is in the BM is interested in SF enough to pay the money and spend the time to go to a remote location to participate. If you hold the BM online, you drastically reduce the price of entry and participation. Lots of people who couldn’t be arsed to show up physically in Chengdu or Glasgow can now participate in their pajamas from their basement. That is gatekeeping, to be sure, but sometimes gates are useful.

  45. @bill Or, in other words, “You must be this rich and idle to participate in WSFS.” It’s a means test, and if we’re going to have a means test then let’s be honest about it. The working class need not apply.

  46. And on a second thought, there’s something ironic about the “World” Science Fiction Society being particularly militant that only those people physically together in a room count.

  47. Ryan H: There’s always somebody who thinks he’s making a profound point by pointing to the word World in the title.

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