Chengdu Worldcon Publishes Q&As to Explain Their Membership and Admission Structure

The 2023 Chengdu Worldcon committee has updated its membership rate chart and posted a set of Q&A’s to clarify their original announcement made earlier this month.

The official channel to buy memberships will open in May (right now the website is not taking them).

The revised rate chart is below. (Click for larger image.)

The text of the Q&A’s follows.

Q: What is special for the fees plan of 2023 Chengdu Worldcon?

A: We have set up a pre-packaged five-day on-site admission pass bundle, which does not include WSFS MEMBERSHIP rights (Hugo nominating/voting, site selection voting). It is not a full ATTENDING MEMBERSHIP. This is designed mainly to attract more young fans from our local community who are not familiar with Worldcon system but enthusiastic about science fiction and fantasy genre. You can also consider it as an introduction gateway to the Worldcon community. We will be offering Single-Day Admission passes next year, starting from July 1st, 2023.

Q: Is WSFS Membership required to buy the in-person five-day admission package?

A: No, WSFS membership is not a requirement to buy the in-person admission package, but if you buy both, you’ll be given a full ATTENDING MEMBERSHIP.

The same applies to Online Admission. Just remember, to “attend Worldcon activities” with an “admission” does not grant you WSFS rights or ATTENDING MEMBERSHIP status.

Q: How to upgrade to a WSFS MEMBERSHIP?

A: If you bought a 2023 Advance Supporting Membership from DC3, you don’t have to do anything to upgrade. Not matter you voted or not for the 2023 Site Selection, no matter which city you voted, you automatically have WSFS MEMBERSHIP, and you have been given a full ATTENDING MEMBERSHIP for free, both in-person and online attending.

Q: What rights do people who voted for Site Selection at DisCon III have?

A: People who voted for Site Selection at DisCon III, including people voted on-site without a DC token, have been given WSFS membership plus In-person Admission.

Q: What rights do people who bought 2023 advance Supporting Memberships but didn’t vote?

A: The same rights as people who voted, WSFS membership plus In-person Admission.

Q: The above situations do not apply to me. How to obtain a full ATTENDING MEMBERSHIP?

A: If you are a first time Worldcon attendee in 2023, you need to pay $50 to obtain a WSFS MEMBERSHIP, and pay another $50 to obtain the IN-PERSON FIVE-DAY ADMISSION. So you will need to pay $100 to have full ATTENDING MEMBERSHIP.

If you are NOT a first-timer, WSFS rate is $50, and the five-day admission is $70. So you will pay a total of $120 to have ATTENDING MEMBERSHIP.

If you are a student, 12-year-old to the end of postgraduate studies, with a valid student ID, you can get the student discount. Student ID will be required when purchasing and picking up your badge. If you are also a first time attendee, then the student discount fits you better, which is $50 for WSFS MEMBERSHIP, and $30 for the admission package.

Q: Who are eligible for the First Worldcon discount?

A: The First Worldcon discount is for adults who have not attended any Worldcon in person before. Note that if you only had a Supporting Membership in DC (or another) Worldcon, you are still eligible for the First Worldcon discount.

Q: If I want to take part in Site Selection for 2025 Worldcon, what will be the requirement?

A: You will need to buy an Advance Supporting Membership in 2025. This will likely be about $50. We will announce it later according to the WSFS Constitution.

Q: What are your other discount packages?

A: Children ages 0-11 can attend for Free. This admission has no voting rights. And childcare hours are not included.

Family discount, discount for people with access requirements, coupon for flight over 3000 km, and other discount programs will be announced later.

Q: If I bought In-Person Admission package, can I still attend the convention online?

A: Yes. The in-person admission package will also allow the holder to attend the convention online.

Q: What are included with a WSFS Membership?

A: Being a WSFS member of the Worldcon gives you the right to participate in the ongoing WSFS activities of the Worldcon. So, the WSFS MEMBERSHIP rights include:

1) The Hugo Awards nomination in 2023 Worldcon and 2024 Worldcon;

2) The Hugo Awards voting in 2023;

3) 2023 Chengdu Worldcon Business Meeting voting rights (on-site);

4) Opportunity to purchase Advanced Membership to vote in 2023 Chengdu Worldcon for 2025 site selection.

The fact that you have read through this whole thing means you are a real fan! So if you still have questions, please let us know!

NOTES:

  1. The currency is in US dollars.
  2. Major credit cards will be accepted.
  3. For Full ATTENDING MEMBERSHIP status, you need to combine a WSFS MEMBERSHIP and one choice of admission rights.

44 thoughts on “Chengdu Worldcon Publishes Q&As to Explain Their Membership and Admission Structure

  1. Confusing because folks who voted at DIscon by mail, email or in person are used to paying a second fee to the winning Worldcon. I suspect the Cheng du people have some sponsorship money negating that necessity.

  2. No, that’s not complicated or confusing at all. Thanks, Chengdu Worldcon committee.

  3. Another thought occurred to me. I suspect that I will be attending this virtually even though I would like to visit China someday. They have such draconian COVID lockdowns and seem to be having harder issues with it than the Americans and Europeans. Also if anything unfortunate happens in world politics such as an invasion of Taiwan, then I suspect that most non Chinese fans will stay home.

  4. @iain
    I think they’ve done a remarkable job of simplifying and explaining. What questions do you still have?

  5. As far as I read The Rules (well, OK, not actuyally a trademark, but…) this in contravention of §1.5.9 of the WSFS constitution, as it sure as a sure thing looks like they’re selling a membership that conveys all privileges except WSFS membership.

    Boo! Pick a new 2023 WorldCon venue and rip the name from Chengdu! Booo!
    Or, I guess, convince Chengdu to back off this violation of The Rules.

  6. @Ingvar

    this in contravention of §1.5.9 of the WSFS constitution, as it sure as a sure thing looks like they’re selling a membership that conveys all privileges except WSFS membership.

    Aside from this being a violation of the rules, is it a bad thing? How is it worse than selling a set of day passes?

    I’m not sure what problem §1.5.9 is meant to solve.

    (And strictly speaking, §1.5.9 says “don’t sell a membership”. Chengdu is selling admission. Maybe a distinction without a difference, though . . .)

  7. @bill
    I think they are probably relying on the vaguesness of the language to say that yes, an admission is different than a full attending membership. As they note in their footnote, a “full attending memership” is a WSFS membership + one choice of admission. 1.5.9 prohibits memberships “that allows attendance and full participation for the entire duration of the convention.” So if they’re calling it an admission and not a membership, they may be violating the spirit but not the letter.

    We also have no idea whether folks with an admission but no WSFS membership may not be able to access all parts of the convention. Perhaps the WSFS business meeting and site selection tables will be in a physical space that is only accessible to people with a Full Attending Membership, so someone with an admission would not be able to have “full participation”. Again, some people would see that as following the letter of the rule, but not the spirit. But we don’t define anywhere what “full participation” means, so who can blame them for taking advantage of a loophole to improve affordability for their members?

    Note that the constitutional amendment up for ratification this year would create this explicit division between your WSFS membership and your “attending supplement.” The difference is that you can’t buy an attending supplement without a WSFS membership. You can still buy day passes, though, which are admission only. And its only tradition (and economic incentives) that mean buying 5 day passes is usually a lot more expensive than a “full attending membership.”

  8. They don’t say explicitly what “Admission” includes, but since they do say that “Membership” includes Hugo votes and Business Meeting votes, I think it is implied that “Admission” does not include those.

    “And its only tradition (and economic incentives) that mean buying 5 day passes is usually a lot more expensive than a “full attending membership.”

    True. But if Chengdu’s finances are such (perhaps due to subsidies, or lowball rates for facilities) that they don’t need to make a package of 5 day passes cost more than a normal membership, I don’t really see what the problem is.

    Their goal of “This is designed mainly to attract more young fans from our local community who are not familiar with Worldcon system but enthusiastic about science fiction and fantasy genre.” is laudable. If this is how they want to do it, it makes sense (with the exception of possibly being a rule violation.)

  9. @iain

    To answer your question “why is this a bad thing” – some people object just on the grounds that it’s a rule violation, and if they’re willing to violate/bend the rules on this, what else might they do?

    Other people think that the philosophical morals of the Worldcon is that we are all members, and so we should be encouraging full membership in the organization as much as possible, as this is what distinguishes our type of convention from a standard “gate show” where people just buy tickets.

    Others are worried about the precedent it sets for other conventions moving forward. Will Glasgow and Seattle feel like they have to offer a cheap non-membership admission, and what would that do to their budgets? Right now the supporting/WSFS membership portion covers some of the costs of the physical and/or virtual convention, not just the marginal costs associated with their WSFS rights. Part of what allows Worldcon budgets to work is that almost everyone pays for a WSFS membership, even if lots of them don’t use any of the rights attached to it. If you lose that surcharge, then you’d have to raise attending rates or hope you make up the difference on volume (but at the risk of then having a whole lot of non-members who aren’t invested in the event in the same way).

  10. @bill

    Aside from this being a violation of the rules, is it a bad thing? How is it worse than selling a set of day passes?

    It’s bad because it radically changes the nature of the convention, from a gathering of fans who all share an interest in promoting all things SF and mutually nominating and hailing the best of the genre for the year…

    …into a show put on for an audience waiting to be entertained.

    As for day passes: Single-day passes for are what this violation of the rules is claiming as its reason for violating those rules: Giving the curious a taste in order to attract new members. The difference is, day passes are generally priced high enough that it doesn’t make sense to buy five individual ones. It’s a pricing structure that actively encourages full membership: If someone’s interest is piqued enough to attend for multiple days, they’ll also start taking part in the decision-making.

    What Chendu is doing is the direct opposite: creating an economic incentive that actively discourages full membership.

    I worry that if it’s allowed to stand with the Chendu Worldcon it will put economic pressure on other, future Worldcons to follow the same path. And if a fan-run convention is no longer fan-run, why even bother anymore?

  11. I’m seeing lots of comments to the effect that Chengdu must have lots of sponsorship to offer these rates – and that may be true – but noone has pointed out the other likelihood. US and European Worldcons are typically c. 4,000-6,000 attending members (prior to Covid) and bear the high costs associated with doing business in their host countries. I believe Chengdu are expecting a minimum of 10,000 people, and I doubt their costs will be higher than those for a US event. Double the members = half the price. (I believe the larger Chinese SF conventions can get 40,000 or more members which makes the budget calculation look VERY difficult.)

    If a US Worldcon knew for sure it would get 10,000 attendees I suspect it would be offering attending memberships for $120 rather than the typical final rate of $240 that we have seen in recent years!

  12. @Colin Harris, if Chendu is expecting double the usual attendance, that negates the excuse they’ve offered for undermining the ethos of a fan-run convention with a non-voting “attendance pass” (i.e., a non-voting membership in direct violation of the WSFS Constitution).

  13. @bill:

    I’d say that as far as 1.5.9 goes, I see no difference between “convention membership” and “convention admission”. I am ambivalent on day passes, but I will grudgingly fall on the side of “they’re probably OK”.

    One of the reasons I find a non-WSFS-membership membership/admission (where the WSFS membership is essentially the only difference) is indeed the difference between “you are a member now, welcome in” and “we will let you through the door if you pony up the moolah”. Other than that? No, there isn’t a huge difference. Oh, yeah, it’s also against the rules.

  14. If you ever felt nominating/voting on the Hugos was tedious and highly specialized, just think what it would be like for most potential Chinese participants. (Particularly if many English items are nominated.) And one wouldn’t want the Hugos to resemble the many fandom wars of China. Your idol insulted my idol! Ours has more fans, we’ll bury you! That would be unfortunate, and… a bit familiar. Perhaps Chengdu is providing a safety valve whereby fans who find poring over rankings from an esoteric international literary genre less important than celebrating the stuff they are actually into are encouraged to save a few bucks and stay out of it. Plus they can’t storm the business meeting! I admit my first reaction was to appreciate the Committee’s thoughtfulness – but then I felt guilty.

    (The policy as stated sounds to me like it follows the letter if not spirit of 1.5.9 – which is poorly worded and outdated anyway.)

  15. Colin Harris: Double the members = half the price… If a US Worldcon knew for sure it would get 10,000 attendees I suspect it would be offering attending memberships for $120 rather than the typical final rate of $240 that we have seen in recent years!

    No, it would probably still be offering attending memberships for $240, because it would need that money to secure additional programming space to meet capacity for the additional members.

    Thousands of additional attending memberships are not “free money” for Worldcons. Double the members do not = half the price, they equal double the obligation to provide promised services such as programming space capacity so that members can actually have what they’ve paid for, instead of standing in line for hours and then being turned away at the door for panels and events.

  16. I’m not exactly in the middle between the two extremes, however, I will share a data point. About two years ahead of time, the late Bruce Pelz and I discussed how many members we thought our Anaheim facilities could handle for the 1996 Worldcon, bearing in mind that (1) 1996 would be the first time since 1993 the Worldcon had been in the U.S., and (2) the first time it had been in Southern California since 1984, which had a record-setting 8,000+ attendance. We thought maybe we should cap it at 16,000. And we never discussed the idea of modifying the graduated membership rates — because if anything, we would have wanted them to help limit demand.

    History shows we needn’t have worried, since the con only broke the 6,000 mark. I just wanted to mention this as one example of a real-life discussion of these kinds of issues.

  17. Re doubling/bigger attendance #s… aside from (non) minor things (thinking bakck to, e.g., Dublin, but hardly just Dublin) like (unanticipated) long lines for just about every event, not to mention more-people-than-room-capacities, there’s also the oversaturation of coffee lines (and not even thinking about Con Suite provisioning), restaurants, hotels, rest rooms, etc. I haven’t been to San Diego ComicCon or DragonCon etc., but I’ve been to Comdex and CES in Las Vegas, and scaling up is not anybody’s friend. Particularly scaling beyond what a site, and the people – employees of the facility etc, as well as Con staff (who are all volunteers, remember) had planned towards, etc.

  18. It’s certainly a lot clearer than the proposal that pass at Discon last December to make memberships no longer total transferrable (supporting members not at all transferrable).

    That goes against decades of worldcon tradition and passed with near no objection…

  19. This lends evidence to my personal belief that Chengdu will be a professional Comic-con like show with a little Worldcon grafted on to the side.

  20. I think it is a good idea to make the convention more affordable for ordinary Chinese with little knowledge of the Hugo’s. Whether it’s within the rules is nothing I have an opinion about.

    I can’t see how this changes the element of a fan-run convention. That’s not really decided by if you are voting for the Hugo’s or not. I typically don’t, as reading for an award took away some of the enjoyment from my reading.

  21. It’s almost like some here think that 1.5.9 keeps the riff raff out.

    Regardless of 1.5.9, Chengdu is going to be completely different than any Worldcon ever held. Whether future Worldcons feel pressured to repeat anything they did is up to them. However, ever since I started paying attention to them, there’s been a cottage industry of people looking at the most recent Worldcon for flaws (real or perceived), and making it their business to keep the next one from doing the same. If the consensus is that a five-day pass at bargain rates is a bad thing, it won’t happen again.

    There are many problems with each convention starting from near scratch and putting a Worldcon together. But one of the great advantages is that each one is new, and can try new things, and is no more limited by tradition or expectation than it wants to be. I’d bet that when the Chengdu dust has settled, there will be a few things that they have done that will be looked at with admiration, and future cons will try to incorporate or adapt them. The admission pass may or may not be one of them.

  22. @bill

    It’s almost like some here think that 1.5.9 keeps the riff raff out.

    I don’t know where you are seeing that in any of the comments on this post. I simply think that offering a lower price for “the full convention” that doesn’t allow people to participate in WSFS governance is bad. Especially since most of them probably have no idea what they’re being excluded from (and would then have to pay extra to participate fully).

    Plus, of course, the (un-)intentional stance of “one of us” on one hand and “a mere attendant” on the other.

  23. @ingvar

    Especially since most of them probably have no idea what they’re being excluded from (and would then have to pay extra to participate fully).

    So we should force them to pay more than they can afford to participate in something they have no idea about it (and possibly no interest in) if they want to attend the convention at all?

  24. I think this Worldcon will be very different from others in that most attendees won’t be fluent in English. This means that some policies that might make sense for a Chinese Worldcon won’t for other countries. On the other hand, it will be interesting to see if they can find a template that might bring Worldcon to other non-English speaking countries (by which I mean few English speakers in the population).

  25. @ Tammy Coxen:

    We should not force them to participate in anything. But, more importantly, we should not exclude them from doing so. And that is exactly what having a “no, you are not a member of WSFS” con membership (or “admission”, if you want) is. And there need not be any cost differential. The actual extra cost that being a WSFS member puts on a WorldCon are asymptotically approaching 0 per extra member.

    So, no, we should not force them to participate. We should also not exclude them. And the actual cost difference is tending towards zero. So, yeah, I think harsh words need to be had with Chengdu, and possibly their Worldcon status taken away (and a new 2023 worldcon, hopefully, being able to be arranged), unless they offer full WSFS membership even at the lower 5-day rate (which, by my book, is a perfectly cromulent solution).

  26. After having read section 1.5.9, I agree with Ingvar that the Chengdu fees chart does not seem to be inline with the WSFS rules. Visitors are allowed to attend with participation, but do not get to vote which goes against the section.

    My guess is that they wanted some way to have different prices for Chinese and for foreigners and chose this alternative, but the method isn’t allowed. No idea how to proceed with this.

  27. Minutes covering debate over “B.2.9 Short Title: Universal Suffrage” (1.5.9) are online here:

    https://docslib.org/doc/6851139/2016-wsfs-business-meeting-agenda-midamericon-ii-the

    Intent behind the curious wording is described thusly:

    Mr. Oakes replied that the intention of the motion was to cover regular purchased memberships. Comped memberships that allow full access for the CART, ASL and tech support people do not include voting rights; however GoH memberships generally come with voting rights, and this motion would not change that. He simply did not want people who would normally be at the meeting suddenly finding themselves without voting rights because they checked the wrong box.

    Whatever “regularly purchased memberships” and whoever “people who would normally be at the meeting” are, fans completing Chengdu’s registration must be specific exactly what they wish to sign up for, a membership in the World Science Fiction Society or an admission ticket to the Con.

    I doubt anyone considered a scenario in which paying attendees might prefer not to be a member, but if enough people shout that WSFS needs to condemn/punish China, Russia, and whatever the next thing is, I’ll join that cohort.

    I don’t think it is reasonable to label this tiered pricing for foreigners. Foreigners can choose the cheaper options and there are many foreign students in Chengdu. My own preference is everyone who comes should get a vote: students who couldn’t care less, journalists, fans who can afford one day. That would make for a cleaner amendment.

  28. @ingvar

    So you think Chengdu should charge only $50 for either a supporting or attending membership, then? They cannot charge any less than that, because that’s what the voting fee/advance supporting membership was. (And this is still more expensive than their least expensive “admission” option.)

  29. @ Tammy Coxen:

    I think the Chengdu convention should abide by the rules that the WSFS sets down for WorldCon. I think all cons that purport to be WorldCons should. They fought long and hard for the privilege and now they need to step up and do their bit, by not breaking the rules.

    If they’ve managed to get themselves into a position where they can no longer go forward with their promises as well as following the rules, that is genuinely a tough position to be in. I suspect backing down on the fee schedule and scrapping the “admission” attendance is the easiest. If they don’t, well, there are probably some administrative options open, but I would prefer that what happens is that they person up and simply go “ooops, we made a mistake, we will have to drop the admission ticket” (or, you know, make it a “less one day” ticket, that would fulfil the letter of the regulation).

  30. To the extent that this is a problem, part of the problem is that the rule in question just assumes that it will be followed, and there is no mechanism in place to enforce it. Who is responsible for telling Chengdu “fix this”? And if Chengdu says, “Nah, we’re good”, is there any fallout?

    Another requirement is that there will be “supporting memberships” that do not include attendance rights, but do include voting rights. I suppose that what is specified above as “WSFS Membership” is in fact a supporting membership, and that “WSFS Membership” + “In-person Admission” constitute what the Consititution calls “attending membership”.

    One explanation for the current situation would be that the membership/fee structure described above was designed by someone who read the constitution some time back, and only vaguely remembered what it requires when he wrote it down.

  31. bill: To the extent that this is a problem, part of the problem is that the rule in question just assumes that it will be followed, and there is no mechanism in place to enforce it.

    Sure, but keep thinking this through. The system is designed to select a Worldcon franchisee and hand off all control and operational responsibility to them. The franchisee bears all the risk of the facilities contracts, finding people to run the con, and everything else. There’s an implicit expectation that the franchisees are going to be committed to the Worldcon-running culture and care about what their peers think of them — including such matters as whether they follow the rules. There’s no oversight authority because if there were, it would have to be an entity legally and financially able to step into the shoes of the Worldcon franchisee if they kicked them out. As it is, there is only a rule suggesting who should try to pick up the pieces if the franchisee defaults, which is a very different question than breaking one of the WSFS rules.

  32. Mike — I don’t disagree. Which is why I’m having something of a mental disconnect that this is even something that people are concerned about (or, ultimately, that there is even a rule about it). WSFS is (and should be) pretty “hands-off” with respect to how a committee runs a Worldcon.

    Chengdu, as you’ve said, takes on all the risk and responsibility of running the convention. If they want to fiddle with things at this level of detail, it doesn’t seem like a big deal to me, nor should there even be a rule against it.

    I’ve seen it said more than once at File770 that all a Worldcon has to do is award Hugos and hold a business meeting. Obviously, they’ve got to do more – they have to follow fairly proscribed rules about how they charge to let people in, which is very specific and nuanced compared to the “big picture” requirements of Hugos and business meeting.

  33. Maybe the Chengdu structure is technically compliant, if “full participation” can be defined as everything except the business meeting and site selection. But I do not agree. It would mean that a convention could offer full participation in everything except WSFS voting rights, and the clear purpose of section 1.5.9 is they can’t do that.

    The Chengdu Worldcon committee could easily solve this by offering day passes at whatever rates they want. They could charge $10 for a day pass for first-Worldcon attendees, so it adds up to $50 for five days, which is the same total as in their chart. Section 1.5.7 gives them full discretion.

    The main thing is the committee needs to realize that section 1.5.9 actually means something. If a person wants to participate for the entire duration of the convention, they should be considered a member and have voting rights. This is a core value of WSFS. When introducing young fans to the Worldcon community, actually include them.

  34. @tom becker
    I think people would be just as grouchy if they were calling it a bundle-of-five-single-day-passes, because it’s still the same thing.

    They clearly want to make the convention affordable to locals. The only way they could do that cheaply would be to provide FREE conversion to Chinese residents -so you buy your WSFS membership and get to attend the convention for free. And I think all the people who are concerned about Chengdu “stealing the Worldcon forever” and “swamping the Hugos” would be screaming about that. So they are really in a damned if you do, damned if you don’t situation.

  35. Maybe we’re damned if we do, damned if we don’t, but the horse is already out of the barn. There are thousands of Chinese fans who supported DC and voted for Chengdu. They’re full members. The local fans who attend the whole convention should also be full members.

    This whole thing is weird. A WSFS membership has essentially no cost to the host Worldcon, except for the tiny additional effort of counting the member’s nominations and votes. So why are they unbundling the WSFS membership from an attending membership? It goes against the WSFS constitution, there’s nothing in it for the Chengdu committee, and it short-changes the local fans.

  36. The rules say “that allows attendance and full participation for the entire duration of the convention”.

    You wouldn’t have to go with day passes, it would be enough to limit “full participation”. Not sure how much difference that would need. No access to consuite, to booklets, to other stuff? I’m not fond of tiered memberships though.

  37. This idea of unbundling WSFS membership is part of a constitutional amendment that passed in DC and is up for ratification in Chicago. Knowing what I know about who is advising Chengdu, they should be very aware of this language and are probably using it (even though Glasgow would be in the first convention bound by it).

    You can see the text here:
    https://www.wsfs.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/02/Business-Passed-on-from-Worldcon-79-DisCon-III-to-Worldcon-80-Chicon-8.pdf

    It eliminates the “supporting membership” and replaces it with a WSFS membership, which comes with your WSFS rights of voting on the Hugos or in Site Selection. This is non-transferable – you are a member of the organization, and you can’t give that membership away.

    If you want to attend the convention, then you must purchase an “attending supplement”. The intention of the amendment is that you must be a WSFS member to purchase an attending supplement, but on a careful read right now, nowhere does it say that. If you are a WSFS member and have an attending supplement, then you can attend the con AND the business meeting. But it doesn’t prohibit selling an attending supplement on its own, which would presumably allow you to attend the convention but not the business meeting.

    Again – letter of the law vs spirit of the law. But fundamentally I’m with @bill and think people should stop getting themselves so worked up about it in the context of Chengdu, which is already going to be a Worldcon completely unlike other ones.

  38. @Tom Becker
    So do you believe that Worldcons should not charge anything to become a supporting member of the convention (about to be WSFS member in the new terminology)? Supporting membership was never only about covering hard costs – it was a way for members of the Worldcon community to support the convention in years that they could not attend. It’s right there in the name.

    There have been discussions elsewhere on the internet about what costs could reasonably be allocated to ALL members (supporting and attending). If the required functions of the Worldcon are to run a business meeting and site selection and award the Hugos, then any costs associated with those activities should be borne by all members, attending and not. This would not include the Hugo ceremony, but all the things associated with administration such as the Hugo Award statues themselves and technical costs for hosting voting infrastructure. So while the actual hard costs of a WSFS membership might not be our current amount of around $50, they are non-zero, and the estimates I’ve seen have been at least $20-$25.

    And of course, the value of a WSFS membership to the holder is often much higher than that, thanks to the Hugo Voters Packet, which can contain well more than $50 worth of content.

    And of course, for every person saying “WSFS memberships should be cheap” there’s someone saying “It’s too easy to buy Site Selection!”

  39. @Tammy Coxen: I don’t agree with the proposed amendment for non-transferability of voting rights. I understand it’s a pain for the Worldcon to administer transferred memberships with voting rights, but I think we should not diminish the value of a membership. Also, there will be even more weird edge cases, such as the original purchaser getting voting rights essentially for free.

    So do you believe that Worldcons should not charge anything to become a supporting member of the convention (about to be WSFS member in the new terminology)?

    No. It seems technically possible under the current rules, if the current Worldcon Committee and all bidding committees unanimously agree to charge $0 for site selection, but I can’t see why anyone would want to do that.

    Personally, I feel that a supporting membership should include online participation. Section 1.5.2 protected the right of supporting members to receive the full benefits of membership, except for physically attending. Now that it is possible to participate online, we should choose the most generous and inclusive definition of 1.5.2, not the most narrow. That would make supporting memberships more valuable, not less. If we go by Chengdu’s example, maybe we should charge $52 for supporting memberships instead of $50.

  40. @tom becker – You’re misunderstanding the non-transferability. I pay $50 for my WSFS membership and $130 for an attending supplement (what we’d currently call “converting” to a full attending membership). If I decide I can’t attend the convention, then I can sell the attending part of my membership for $130 (or whatever price I can get for it) but if that person wants to attend the convention they ALSO need to have a WSFS membership which they must purchase separately. I keep my WSFS membership and my voting rights, even if I no longer want them. So I could never “get voting for free.”

    (That’s that intention of the amendment, although I’m not sure the language is quite right to deliver it.)

    As to your suggestion that virtual access be included – we should definitely not be assuming that there will always be a virtual aspect to the convention and enshrining that in the constitution. It would be unreasonable to mandate that Worldcons offer such a thing. And virtual conventions are very not free to run – there are signficant costs there.

  41. @Tammy Coxen: OK. I guess it is far-fetched that an original purchaser could get voting rights for free. They would have to hornswoggle someone into paying the price of an attending membership for a mere attending supplement. Or buy early and wait until the rates went up before selling.

    I think my point about creating weird edge cases still stands. What if someone buys an attending supplement and does not buy a WSFS membership? Will they be refused admission? Under section 1.5.9, no Worldcon may sell an attending supplement without a WSFS membership, but private individuals may.

    I was not suggesting that conventions be mandated to offer virtual access. Just that if they do offer virtual access, it should be included in the supporting membership. Times have changed. Receiving publications by mail is no longer the only way members can connect remotely with the convention. As for the cost, virtual memberships in DisCon 3 were $90, so the additional cost would need to be worked out some way. Maybe it won’t work out. But I think in general it would be better if we keep the Worldcon membership structure simple.

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