Departing WSFS Division Head Nicholas Whyte was also in charge of the 2023 Site Selection voting.
The committee has not yet addressed the staff resignations.
This is the second team of Hugo administrators to quit DisCon III this year. The con’s original WSFS Division Head Jared Dashoff explained here in January why he and the Hugo Administrator resigned. It had to do with efforts to manage policies created by the committee “to deal with a) space constraints at receptions and award ceremonies, b) budget constraints of the receptions and trophies, c) constraints relating to font size on both ballots and in-ceremony visuals, and d) in response to multiple requests to list long lists of contributors to Hugo Finalists over the last few years….”
Dashoff made his comment in response to Colette Fozard’s guest post about why she resigned as DisCon III co-chair in the same timeframe.
The protested restrictions, which DisCon III announced January 11, were repudiated the next day by DisCon III chair Bill Lawhorn (see “DisCon III Abandons Previously Announced Hugo Policy”). Lawhorn said:
…All publications and visuals linked to the Hugo Awards will include all Hugo Finalist creators named to DisCon III with no restrictions to the number of names. This includes, and is not limited to, the Hugo Awards ballot, the visuals used during the Hugo Awards Ceremony, the plaques on the Hugo Awards trophies, the Hugo Awards Ceremony program guide, the DisCon III souvenir guide, and the DisCon III and Hugo Awards websites.
We will address concerns about the size of events such as the Hugo Pre-Reception, the number of Hugo Awards trophies, and any other cost considerations individually with the finalists….
However, it seems that when the time recently arrived to address these concerns, some controversial limitations were still on the table – see the message documented in Pixel Scroll 6/19/21 item #6.
When Nicholas Whyte announced on Facebook last January 17 that he had signed on as DisCon III’s new WSFS Division Head, he commented: .
…The Hugos have had some reputational issues to deal with. Having fought off direct assault by ill-wishers in 2015 and 2016, some pretty significant mistakes were made more recently. Many of those were outside the immediate responsibility of the Hugo Administrators, including most notably the awful botching of last year’s Hugo ceremony and the Hugo Losers Party in 2019, and the hostile response from some in the community to the winners of the award for Best Related Work in both of those years (cases where I very much stand by the eligibility decisions that were made by teams that I was a part of).
I have made mistakes as well, and I hope that I have learned from them. In particular, it’s clear, not least from the problems that arose in the last few days, that the Hugos as a whole need to be less siloed and need to improve communication in both directions with the rest of the Worldcon and with the wider stakeholder community (as my work colleagues would put it). DisCon III had already started putting structures in place that would improve this side of things, and I look forward to working with those and building on them.
What led to today’s round of resignations Whyte doesn’t explicitly say. He simply quotes Lawhorn’s aspirational statement about last January’s policy reversal, and says “It is clear that we have taken the process as far as we can, and that our input is no longer needed by the convention leadership.”
[Thanks to James Davis Nicoll for the story.]