Chengdu Worldcon Update

What has developed since Chengdu Worldcon co-chair Ben Yalow, at a Chicon 8 Q&A session, set expectations about when the convention’s new website would launch, its first progress report would appear, and when 2023 site selection voters who now are members would hear from the committee?

As a necessary first step they have set up a nonprofit corporation in the U.S.. See the articles of incorporation for the Development Center for Chengdu Worldcon, available from Wyoming state public records.

Creating the corporation is expected to pave the way for the 2023 Worldcon to open accounts in the U.S. where they can hold their money and do credit card transactions. Asked about progress since his Chicon 8 statement, Ben Yalow said in a November 18 email, “Under construction. We’re working on opening the necessary bank accounts.”

Asked whether DisCon III is still holding $180,253.50 of site selection fees in escrow for the winner, Yalow indicated, “See above comments about bank accounts.  Once they’re open, DC3 will send the money.”

The Chengdu Worldcon decided not to delay launching their new website until the registration functions could be turned on, and it went online the first week in September. People can now subscribe there to receive news notifications. 

The committee has granted full attending memberships with all WSFS rights to those who purchased an advance supporting membership in Chengdu (voting token at DisCon III), or actually voted in 2023 site selection. Although voters have not yet been contacted by the committee, at the beginning of November the Chengdu Worldcon introduced a capability to their website that lets them log in with the same email address they used to vote for 2023 site selection and check the rights they already have. Here is an example of what you see:

People using the website are advised that the credit card capability is not yet available.

The new website’s front page has a field labeled “Guests of Honor,” however, no information about them appears on it, even their names. Asked why, Yalow’s explanation was, “It’s still under development.  And we decided it was more important to get something out while still working on the basic content.”

In December it will be a year since the site selection vote and members have yet to be contacted by the Chengdu Worldcon. Asked when that can be expected to happen, Yalow said, “Probably relatively soon.  We’ve got a draft of PR1, which will go to the membership.”

Chicon 8 Business Meeting Minutes Available

Jared Dashoff, Presiding Officer of the WSFS Business Meeting at Chicon 8, has announced that following the conclusion of the convention, the Chicon 8 Business Meeting Staff has certified the minutes, updated WSFS Constitution, Standing Rules, and Resolutions and Rulings of Continuing Effect, all of which are now posted here at WSFS.org

He adds that resolutions of the Mark Protection Committee (MPC) have been pulled out of the Resolutions and Rulings of Continuing Effect and are now listed on the MPC subpage here

Chicon 8 Updates 2022 Hugo Longlist to Credit Translators and Comics Creative Team Members

S. Qiouyi Lu today published a “Request for the Hugo Awards to include translators, interior artists, colorists, letterers, and cover artists in the annual long list tabulation”, which has prompted Chicon 8 to issue a revised 2022 Hugo longlist.

…I had three works on the Hugo long list this year, but I was only credited on one of them (my novella In the Watchful City). The two graphic novels that I translated were credited only to the writer of the comic script and the writer of the original work from which the graphic novels are adapted, but who did not, as far as I know, actually write the adaptation.

My works were not the only translated works in the long list. I included a full list of translators to the best of my knowledge and search abilities in my original Twitter thread, which is archived at the end of this post.

Translation in anglophone literary spheres is an undervalued art form. So while I was unsurprised by translators not being credited, it was still a major disappointment to see my labor erased on Labor Day of all days. I made a thread on Twitter saying so and to request that translators be credited in the long list….

Lu also asked for other members of the creative teams behind works in the Best Graphics Story or Comic category to be credited:

…I also requested for interior artists, colorists, cover artists, and letterers to be credited along with translators. A comics team doesn’t consist just of the writer—the finished product is a combination of all these forms of labor…

Chicon 8 agreed to the request and posted this explanation.


S. Qiouyi Lu brought to our attention the exclusion of translators’ names from the written works in the “long listed” works in the detailed results for the 2022 Hugo Awards, explaining the importance of proper credit for translators in a Twitter thread included here: here. We have posted a corrected set of detailed results at https://chicon.org/home/whats-happening/hugo-awards/, in which we have included the translators for the written works and colorists for the graphic novels.

[The direct link to the updated results is here.]

As part of the administration of the Hugo Awards, we endeavor to list all relevant creators on the final ballot presented to voters, and this includes confirming the correct ballot citations with Finalists themselves. The long list in the detailed results released after the Hugo Award ceremony is a different matter: it is required by the WSFS Constitution primarily for transparency into our processes and has the side benefit of pointing folks to works that garnered significant community interest so they can go seek them out on their own. As noted in the detailed results, we do not vet the long list for eligibility and because the primary function of the long list is transparency into the process (which requires a table that is easy to parse), we do not list out full citations with all associated names, publishers, etc. We truncate references to all the works on the long list, listing authors for the written works, author/artist for the graphic stories, and no names at all for the Best Dramatic Presentations and magazines.

Taking into account feedback from S. Qiouyi Lu and other members of the community, we have come to understand that the work of translators of written works is as fundamental to the work as the authors, and that where one is listed, both should be. We have made corrections to the translated long list works in the 2022 detailed results accordingly. For similar reasons, we are also adding the colorists and cover artists, where they are cited, to the graphic novel listings in the 2022 long list works.

Thank you to S. Qiouyi Lu and everyone else in the community who has worked with us on this issue.


How the Chicago Worldcon Community Fund Helped People Attend Chicon 8

By Tammy Coxen: Chicon 8’s Chicago Worldcon Community Fund (CWCF) program offered both memberships and financial stipends. It was established with the goal of helping defray the expenses of attending Chicon 8 for the following groups of people:

• Non-white fans or program participants
• LGBTQIA+ fans or program participants
• Local Chicago area fans of limited means

SUPPORT PROVIDED. Thanks to the generosity of the Worldcon community we were able to provide support to 101 people. This was made up of 68 program participants and 33 fans. The majority of people (58) only received a membership while 28 received a stipend and a membership and 15 only received a stipend. A detailed breakdown of support provided is available here.

Memberships for program participants were provided via a pool of complimentary attending and virtual memberships provided by Chicon 8. Memberships for fans were covered entirely thanks to donated
memberships from fans who could not attend. The CWCF did not see the last minute rush of donated memberships that Dublin 2019 did in their Fantastic Dublin Fund, probably because people who could not attend in person chose to keep their memberships and attend virtually. However, in the end that was fine, since we were able to provide a membership to everyone who needed one.

CONTRIBUTIONS RECEIVED AND FUNDRAISING. Stipends were paid out of cash contributions made to the fund. In total, the fund received $23,604. Most of this money came from fans who responded to our calls for support. Nearly $15k was received from 76 donors, including 7 people who donated multiple times. Another $2k came from people who had some kind of payment error (double or overpayment) that could have resulted in a refund, but chose to donate that money to the fund instead. $873 came from the pay-what-you-can membership recipients themselves, with a minimum donation of $5 and a maximum of $75.

The remainder of the money in the fund came through other fundraising means — $2500 was a passalong from Discon III’s Capitalize fund, $2500 was raised by Chicon 8 through an auction and sale of pins at their table at Discon III, and an additional $1100 came from Discon III when they held a fundraiser for us at Balticon, giving leftover Discon III merchandise away in exchange for a contribution to the CWCF.

STIPENDS GIVEN. The program allowed applicants to specify both a minimum they needed to attend, and a maximum that would be ideal. We were able to grant all requests at the minimum amount, with a handful of people receiving more. The range of grants was very large, going from $50 to a virtual program participant for data costs to a max of $2300 for an in-person program participant, with an overall average grant of just over $500.

DECISIONS REMAINING TO BE MADE. The CWCF worked really hard to try to give away all the money we took in. However, in the end we were left with $1900 in the fund primarily due to last minute cancellations, including $1200 that was being held for Ugandan members who did not end up getting visas. We are still deciding what to do with the leftover funds.

Thank you to everyone who joined us in helping to make Worldcon more accessible.

Guest Post: Standlee on the Future of Worldcon Governance

By Kevin Standlee. [Note: This was originally posted on my Dreamwidth journal and my Facebook page, as a reaction to debate on other people’s pages and elsewhere. I feel comfortable discussing it because it seems unlikely to me that such a set of changes would be introduced at the 2023 WSFS Business Meeting, where I have been announced as the Deputy Chair. It seems to be that the earliest such proposals could come before the Business Meeting is 2024.]

I find myself explaining the changes to membership in the World Science Fiction Society (WSFS) and the conditions for attending the World Science Fiction Convention that were ratified this year in Chicago (and thus are now in effect, because this was the second vote on the changes). I think some people assume that I’m 100% in favor of them or that I even authored them, neither of which are true.

The Non-Transferrability Amendment

The 2022 WSFS Business Meeting ratified a change to the WSFS Constitution that renamed the existing Supporting Membership of Worldcon as a “WSFS membership” and the existing Attending membership as the “Attending supplement.” It was Item E.5 of the 2022 WSFS Business Meeting agenda. This is the proposal that first passed as item F.6 of the 2021 WSFS Business Meeting. (See minutes here. The 2021 minutes includes the makers’ original supporting arguments. Video recordings of the debates in 2021 and 2022 are available from the YouTube Worldcon Events channel.)

The effect of the change is that what was the Supporting membership is now your membership in the World Science Fiction Society, and that WSFS memberships cannot be transferred to other people. What was an Attending Membership is now a WSFS membership + an Attending Supplement. You can transfer an Attending Supplement to someone; however, they can only use it to attend Worldcon if they also have a WSFS membership. Worldcon is the annual meeting of WSFS, and therefore you have to be a member of WSFS to attend it. If you have a WSFS membership, you can use your WSFS voting rights (nominate/vote for the Hugo Awards, participate in Site Selection), and if you have a WSFS membership + Attending Supplement, you can also attend Worldcon and also participate in the WSFS Business Meeting held at Worldcon. If you have an Attending supplement without a WSFS membership, you cannot attend Worldcon because you have to have a WSFS membership as well.

This change has agitated and confused many people. Some people think it is selling a Worldcon admission on its own, which is not quite true because you still have to have a WSFS (old supporting) membership to go with it in order to use it. As Dave Howell put it in debate this year, the Attending Supplement is like an expansion package to an existing game; you can’t play the expansion by itself — you have to have the game.

It seems that this change has caught a lot of people, including people who attend many Worldcons and who have attended the Business Meeting, by surprise. Some appear to consider themselves blindsided by the change, even though it has gone through the full process of two consecutive years’ meetings and is now the rule of WSFS. When it was ratified, I heard many people saying, “Well, we’ll just have to try and vote it down next year,” and they seemed highly surprised that it had already had first passage. Now I think part of this comes from those people who opposed the change not doing a very good job of communicating what the change was. It passed both years, but not overwhelmingly so. First passage passed 35-22, and ratification passed 46-40.

How WSFS is Governed

Every year, after each Worldcon, we hear many people complaining about some action the Business Meeting took, and it seems that every year people start talking about changing how the WSFS rules are changed. Maybe I’m wrong, but most of them seem to be versions of “Let people vote by proxy” or “Have a gigantic zoom call so everyone can participate.”

Personally, I think the governance structure of WSFS is not fit for purpose anymore. Currently, WSFS is governed by the WSFS Business Meeting, a “town meeting” form of government under which any WSFS member who can attend Worldcon may attend, propose changes, debate, and vote on those changes. I think a membership organization that has had upwards of 10,000 members (many of whom cannot attend the annual meeting) is not well served by this system. Indeed, I was not surprised to read that there are people who assume that there is a WSFS Board of Directors that makes all of the Real Decisions anyway.

My preferred solution would be to replace the “town meeting” governance with an elected representative government model that I call the Council of WSFS. I suggest 21 members (roughly the cube root of 10,000; Google “cube root rule” for why I think it’s a good number). All of the members of WSFS, including the non-attending members, could elect members to this Council. We would elect 7 members each year, for three-year terms.

Initially, I would replace all of the “Business Meeting” references with “Council of WSFS.” That is, the Council would meet at Worldcon, and it would be the body that initiates changes to the WSFS Constitution. However, instead of two consecutive years’ Council meetings at Worldcon being necessary to change the Constitution, I would require that changes passed by the Council in Year 1 be put to a vote of members of WSFS of the Worldcon in Year 2, run in parallel with (but not on the same ballot) as the Hugo Awards Final Ballot. The results of ratification votes would be announced in advance of the Worldcon in Year 2. Yes, this does mean that only people who join WSFS before the Hugo/Ratification voting deadline could participate in the election.

This is not WSFS Inc. And even if it was, it wouldn’t run Worldcons.

WSFS WOULD NOT SELECT SITES. WSFS WOULD NOT BE THE LEGAL ENTITY RUNNING WORLDCONS. I stress this because I’ve already seen people assuming that this new governance model would be the World Science Fiction Society, Incorporated., with a full-time professional paid staff, and that it would be the operating entity of all Worldcons. That would be foolish. WSFS doesn’t operate Worldcons now; it (in effect) licenses the right to hold them to operating committees, and I see no reason to change this.

WSFS’s Intellectual Property

The World Science Fiction Society owns service marks (“Worldcon,” “The Hugo Awards,” and others). Technically, WSFS (an unincorporated literary society) owns the marks in the USA only, as that is how it’s registered by the US Patent & Trademark Office.

In places that do not recognize unincorporated associations as entities that can hold title to service marks — in practice, everwhere except the USA — there is a legal entity: Worldcon Intellectual Property (WIP). WIP is a California public benefit non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation whose board of directors is by definition the members of the WSFS Mark Protection Committee, plus when necessary a non-voting member resident of California when none of the MPC members are California residents. (The WIP bylaws require at least one Californian on its board.) This would not change under a Council of WSFS as proposed here. The Council would still elect members to the MPC. Worldcons and NASFiCs would still appoint members to the MPC. The MPC would still continue to manage and protect WSFS’s intellectual property.

Shadow Implementation

Now we could actually shadow-implement part of this soon: Have Worldcons conduct a non-binding poll of their members in parallel with their final Hugo Award voting, with the results published before Worldcon. That doesn’t require any constitutional changes, and would not be binding upon the existing Business Meeting, but would at least give the non-attending members (and those attending Worldcon who can’t/won’t attend hours of Business Meetings a change to express their opinions.

Proxies and Remote Participation

I am deeply opposed to proxy voting, and think that trying to run a remote-participation meeting that could have thousands of attendees is impractical, even if you could conceivably set up a multi-thousand person Zoom call to try and do it. Direct democracy is very difficult to implement when you get that large, and besides, most of the existing members of Worldcon do not want to invest that much of their time into that level of governance anyway. At most, they want to vote on things without being bothered with all of that tedious debate and rules neepery. I think we as a society would be better served by implementing a way for all of our members to have some voice in the process without forcing anyone who really wants to make any difference give up a large proportion of their Worldcon to do so.

Glasgow 2024 Calling Artists

Are you an artist? Would you like to have your art featured in the Glasgow 2024 Worldcon publications?

Between now and the convention, and for special events at the convention itself, they will be creating a mix of digital and physical publications for Glasgow 2024.

They need pieces for the Progress Reports, which will be produced every few months, and the Souvenir Book which will be available at the convention. Doodles, spaceships, cartoons, armadillos, anything fan-related… they want them! Submissions should be —

  • Small single-column line art (approximately 3 1/2″ wide)
  • Submitted at 300dpi in CMYK

Submit your art to the Publications team at publications-art@glasgow2024.org. Once they are submitted, they will be checked by the designer and will need approval for publication. All entries must be received by 31 March 2024.

Chicon 8 Art Show Winners

Elizabeth Klein-Lebbink, Chicon 8 Art Show Director, reports these are the creators who took home awards from the Chicon 8 Art show.

Best in Show: Vincent DiFate, “The Outer Reach”
Best 2D Work: Eric Wilkerson, “Alien Lives Matter”
Best 3D Work: John Douglass, “Green Autoe Tanker”
Director’s Choice AKA Best subversion of art show rules: Lucy Synk, “Strange New Worlds”

Klein-Lebbink explained the story behind the fourth award: “One of the judges, the lead auctioneer and also a good friend of mine (Bob Passovoy) and I were walking through the art show and ran across Lucy Synk’s piece, which was kind of 2.5 dimensional, fun, irreverent, and really really good. Bob promptly dubbed it great for subverting the 2D vs 3D paradigm and we ran with it. Lucy was there as well telling us how much fun she had making it. Humor aside, it was an excellent piece of work and very deserving, and yes it’s a homage to the newest Star Trek series ‘Strange New Worlds’.”

[Thanks to Elizabeth Klein-Lebbink for the story.]

Chicon 8 Reveals Anonymous Death Threats Were Made Against Two Program Participants

The Chicon 8 committee stated today that prior to the 2022 Worldcon they received threats to murder two program participants, one of whom has gone public.

Last week, shortly before the start of the convention, Chicon 8 received an anonymous email in which the sender used hateful language and threatened to come to the convention and murder two of our program participants. We worked very closely with hotel security and cooperated with all law enforcement agencies. We also worked with both of the participants on planning for their safety and comfort during Chicon 8.

The Chair of Chicon 8 would like to thank convention staff, hotel staff, law enforcement, and the two participants for their cooperation and their responses to the situation. One of the participants, Mr. Patrick Tomlinson, has chosen to also make a public statement, and we thank him for keeping us apprised.

Patrick Tomlinson has been subjected to a huge, intrusive and sometimes violent harassment campaign for some time. Tomlinson’s statement on Twitter starts here. There are 16 tweets altogether – here are some excerpts.

New Chengdu Worldcon Website Is Up

The Chengdu Worldcon has opened a beautiful new website:

The website is taking subscriptions for notifications. That worked for me.

The new site has pages with the information and forms for buying memberships; I did not put them to the test, since I already have a membership. (There was no way to sign in using the membership I already paid for, which was not a surprise; mine is part of the group they haven’t counted in yet.)

The current list of committee members and their assignments is here.

There are many departments with updated information. The News section on the Chinese language site (only) includes a detailed article about the successful Chengdu Party held at Chicon 8. Curiously, there is no page about the guests of honor.

[Thanks to Goobergunch for the story.]