Chengdu Worldcon Presentation at Smofcon 38

It’s been over a year since the Chengdu Worldcon won the 2023 site selection contest and voters have never heard from the committee. In contrast, Glasgow 2024 emailed members less than three weeks after winning at Chicon 8.

WHERE IS PR#1? Early in December at Smofcon 38, Chengdu Worldcon co-chair Ben Yalow finished his presentation by saying, “Those of you who have worked me with me through many, many decades are aware of the fact that I am of the sort of person who believes that the purpose of silver linings is to bring dark clouds with them.” That sentiment perfectly suits the leadership of a committee that embodies Zeno’s Paradox. Yalow said in September at Chicon 8 that a draft of PR#1 would be ready “within another few days” but at Smofcon, he said that members haven’t gotten PR#1 yet because Chengdu “has not completely finalized hotel arrangements,” nor will they receive it “until everything is locked in to the satisfaction of people who get very nervous.”

Whether the convention will have enough money is evidently the source of that anxiety. Yalow said at Smofcon, “People may or may not realize membership income is a trivial part of this Worldcon, unlike every other Worldcon in the past several decades, we are totally dependent on sponsorships and we are working with various corporate and governmental entities to get sponsorships locked down. Until we get the amount of those dollars and a lot of amounts locked down plans are still very very very much up in the air” and Yalow said securing these sponsorships has been “a significant source of delay.”

2025 SITE SELECTION AND 2023 HUGO VOTING. Questioned about Chengdu’s readiness to run site selection for 2025, Yalow used the committee’s failure to issue PR#1 to justify vague answers about their preparation to carry out basic functions in two major areas. Yalow said, “Until we can get PR1 out we are reluctant to put other specific schedules in. However, we recognize that there are some deadlines that are locked in from either the Constitution or the necessary administration of things. We know that the filing deadline for site selection is 180 days before the Worldcon. There is no choice on hitting that deadline.”

As for the Hugos, Yalow said: “…In order to make the Hugos work we really need to open things over the next couple of months. You do not have a hard deadline there but since, as people are aware, a number of us have been involved in Hugo Administration in the past — specifically Dave [McCarty] has done it several times, I’ve been on the subcommittee several times — we know what the Hugo schedule has to look like. So those are things that are driving. Yet on the other hand we are not going to wait for a progress report to get those kinds of questions and mailings done.”

McCarty, who was sitting next to Yalow during Chengdu’s presentation, added: “Our goal is to have online nominations open by the end of January. The tentative schedule for nomination is January for as much as we have an open February and all of March for nomination, and locked in dates for other things behind.

“Probably the web will come online before PR2 with a paper nominating ballot comes out. The paper nominating ballot will come out in sufficient time to get things in for the end of March.”

Later on, McCarty said members could expect the committee to send them an email with Hugo voting information: “Regarding Hugo voting… there should be an email blast going out to people with all the information about nominating and your information about logging into the website. That should go out slightly before the website opens up for people to nominate, so that should be sometime in mid-January. There’s likely to be an email from Chicon 8 about stuff to remind folks about the upcoming Chengdu [Worldcon] and participating as well. This happens I believe slightly even before that, so there’s a couple of different blasts that we’ll be sending out [about] nominating information to people coming up in the next six weeks or so.”

BUSINESS MEETING. The Smofcon audience, trying to digest what had been said, wondered if Chengdu was prepared to carry out another constitutional requirement, asking “Do you have any contingency plans for the situations where you cannot secure sponsorships or have your convention or do anything else like hold the business meeting?”

Yalow answered, “It takes 12 people to hold a business meeting. Holding a business meeting is not an issue. We will comply with all of the requirements in the constitution. That’s easy to do. That doesn’t require a lot of sponsorship.”

One of the tribal divisions among conrunners is between those who prioritize the convenience of the committee and those who prioritize serving the members (which is not just more work but involves sharing more information publicly and addressing criticism in a productive way). The 2023 site selection voters want to be acknowledged as part of a Worldcon community. Too bad that has not been convenient for the Chengdu Worldcon committee which has chosen to spend a year perfecting their first “progress” report instead of doing a simple act of community-building by contacting its members.

Video of the 2023 Worldcon (Chengdu) Presentation at SMOFCon 38 on December 3 is available at the link. There are also videos of the other presentations online, including the one from Glasgow 2024.

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105 thoughts on “Chengdu Worldcon Presentation at Smofcon 38

  1. JJ:

    Brian Z–At this point, it’s clear that his repeated claims that the Chengdu membership purchase process works fine for non-Chinese fans are merely baseless conjecture, and that he hasn’t actually purchased a Chengdu membership via that process.

    Yes, at this point the only question is, did he vote in site selection, or does he not have a membership at all?

  2. Ok, found out how you are supposed to pay. You need to be logged in to get the information. Otherwise you will only get to know that credit cards don’t work.

  3. Hampus is right, you can get the Data from a bank from the registrationprocess, paying per PayPal doesn’t seem posible. (or am I missing something?)

  4. A wire transfer is easiest. PayPal sends to their bank if they provide a linked debit card number. They don’t yet accept Alipay but hopefully that will change, since Paypal sends to it. They are working on credit cards.

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