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.”

24 thoughts on “Chengdu Worldcon Update

  1. This is disturbing. It is not as if Chinese cannot code. Amongst all their members, they cannot find someone that does websites? Even if China was a great place to visit, I would doubt the competence of the committee

  2. Linda Robinett: If what you’re concerned about is taking credit cards, the problem is they don’t have the U.S. accounts set up with credit card companies yet. They just don’t say that directly.

  3. Mike Glyer: If what you’re concerned about is taking credit cards

    My impression is that Linda is referring to this:

    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.”

    How is it that, in the year since Site Selection, sans the money-taking aspect, they still haven’t got a full website? They don’t even have the most basic information up.

    I knew when the results were announced that this con was going to be a CF. But I have to say they’ve exceeded even my expectations for how big of a CF.

  4. JJ: Oh, if it’s the Guest of Honor thing under discussion…. Well, I think that’s not a coding issue either, but a lack of content. And since I could write GoH content for the three guests in half an hour, I am open to the possibility that it’s really an editorial decision. Two of their three guests are to some degree controversial, and one of those two was the subject of a resolution passed by the Chicon 8 business meeting. Maybe they’re in no hurry to draw attention to their retaining Sergey Lukianenko. But you can hardly have a GoH page that leaves him out.

  5. Ben was telling us at Chicon 8 that he was proofreading the first progress report and it would be ready in a couple of days. His replies above are meaningless.

  6. Mike Glyer: it’s really an editorial decision… Maybe they’re in no hurry to draw attention to their retaining Sergey Lukianenko.

    Exactly. Despite what we’re being told, the problem isn’t that they haven’t been able to make a complete website by now, it’s that they have chosen not to do so.

  7. Believe me, I would be thrilled if Chengdu were to give Sergey Lukianenko the boot.

    Nonetheless, I agree with JJ, Linda and Linda that this Worldcon has been a complete disaster so far. I have not received a single e-mail from them, even though I have a membership due to voting in site selection. In fact I was planning to contact them to get confirmation that I indeed have a membership, for while it’s extremely unlikely that I will attend, I do want to nominate and vote for the Hugos and vote in site selection.

  8. Mm-whatever about credit cards etc, a gentle warning re bringing any mobile phone and/or laptop to China (P R of). If ye do, any data thereon will almost certainly be compromised. At a recent UK Con (Novacon 51), some attendees there had previously done consultancy work in China. But before travelling, they were obliged by their employers to leave any Co phones and laptops behind in UK (they were also recommended not to bring any personal ones with them either). Before travelling there,they were issued with blank, once-only use, phones and upon return to UK, those were confiscated and put in isolated containers. And remember when I was in Chengdu in 2018 –and as previously mentioned on Mike G’s site– to talk about Chengdu and a possible Worldcon there, I did not bring my mobile phone or laptop. Instead downstairs I used the Hotel’s desktop. I didnt do any emails whilst there but I did try to get on the BBC website (bbc(dot)co(dot)uk which changes overseas to bbc(dot)com). The screen kept coming and going (the great Internet Wall of China). Instead (and I bet this by now has been also blocked) and remembering my Nationality, I used rte(dot)ie and then got straight to to Irish TV news (which also carried international stuff). So if travelling to Worldcon 2023 -BEWARE. best wishes.

  9. CD do nothing other than break promises. I’ve been nagging them about my membership for 9 months, and while I could set up an account, there is no sign of it there. You would be mad to travel to China, and I’d be amazed if any virtual content is provided. Less CD than CF.

  10. Hate to say it, but my membership in the Worldcon in recent years has been more about the Hugo Packet than about the actual convention, or Guests of Honor—very few of whom I am acquainted with, or have read.

    Suspect I’m into General Douglas MacArthur mode now, sigh…

  11. Given how utterly non responsive and non performing this CF is to date, is it time to consider how to yank it away from China for their failure to, well, DO anything ?

  12. The way events are going in China right now, with Xi Jinping going full-Maoist, it’s hard to imagine that this convention is actually going to happen.

    Hopefully, WSFS is war-gaming how they want to play this. If not, this would be a fine time to start.

  13. Andre, Shrike:

    “WSFS” doesn’t have a lot of ways that it can “yank it away.” Without a strong central executive, the number of options are rather limited. When you say you want “WSFS” to do something, who do you think “WSFS” is in this context?

    I’m not being sarcastic. I’m the Chair of the only permanent ongoing body that WSFS has created (the WSFS Mark Protection Committee), and I certainly don’t have an answer to the question I raise above.

  14. Mm-for what its worth and pursuant to Kevin S’s comments, re any possibility of any WSFS body (ahem) “removing” Chengdu’s Wordcon 2023 rights, a similar (but not quite the same) problem occurred re Eastercon (UK NatSFCon) for 2007. That year’s annual Con was to have been held in Liverpool (Adelphi Hotel) where some previous ones had occured-but those then had significant security problems. Alto 2007 had been confirmed as at that venue, that Hotel could not then give firm assurances re security and so an alternative was sought. At the 2nd oldest SF Con (Novacon) in late 2006, Chester was then chosen instead (and became “Contemplation”). Very very short notice indeed and a scratch Con Committee ensured what was still quite a good Eastercon. So now onto the Chengdu problem. Perhaps at Pemmi-Con/NASFIC 2023 (20-23 July) in Winnipeg, a similar change could be initiated. The difference here tho is that WSFS has set-out-in print governing clauses re both Worldcons and NASFICs. Eastercons then did not then (and still does not have) any governing “charter”/constitution etc. (Tho hopefully in early/mid 2023, I will be submitting –1st notice to all re this– a “Discussion Paper” on the future governance of Eastercons.) best wishes.

  15. I think we need a procedure what to do if a seated Worldcon cannot be held for whatever reasons, a kind of Force Majeure clause for the WSFS constitution. Of course, the next Business Meeting will be in Chengdu, so such as clause would have to be voted on in Glasgow and ratified in 2025.

    In theory, Chengdu should at least be able to hold a virtual Worldcon and for the Business Meeting a solution similar to CoNZealand could be used. However, since Chengdu isn’t even able to set up a decent website and send out e-mails and progress reports, I don’t have high hopes in their ability to pull off a virtual Worldcon.

  16. I can’t even log into Chengdu’s website, because the confirmation e-mail never arrived.

    I have no idea how Hugo nominations and voting are supposed to work under these conditions.

  17. Worldcon was cancelled during World War II. If Chengdu falls through, can we say it’s just cancelled for 2023?

  18. Cora Buhlert on November 28, 2022 at 11:57 am said:

    I think we need a procedure what to do if a seated Worldcon cannot be held for whatever reasons, a kind of Force Majeure clause for the WSFS constitution.

    We already do: It’s Section 2.6 of the WSFS Constitution. The only question is who decides whether a committee is unable to carry out its duties. Someone generally recognized as being an authorized member of that committee who says the committee has failed is clear, at which point the Glasgow committee would have to step in and make some sort of arrangements. Any other case is unclear. If people complaining online about a Worldcon committee not doing various things was enough to delcare a committee unable to carry out its duties, then every Worldcon for the past twenty years would have been dissolved.

    Linda Deneroff on November 28, 2022 at 4:04 pm said:

    Worldcon was cancelled during World War II. If Chengdu falls through, can we say it’s just cancelled for 2023?

    Who is “we” in that sentence? If the Chengdu committee insists that they are still a Worldcon, who has the right to tell them that they aren’t?
    Worldcons had almost no ongoing arrangements back then other than selecting the following Worldcon. In the case of WW II, they just picked up with Worldcon 4. It’s harder when there are ongoing entities that assume that there is always an annual Worldcon.

    We surely could muddle along somehow, but as Cora notes, it would make presenting the 2023 Hugo/Lodestar/Astounding Awards difficult.

    Dave Lally on November 28, 2022 at 8:36 am said:

    [For] what its worth and pursuant to Kevin S’s comments, re any possibility of any WSFS body (ahem) “removing” Chengdu’s Wordcon 2023 rights, a similar (but not quite the same) problem occurred re Eastercon (UK NatSFCon) for 2007….

    You then go on to explain why this doesn’t work quite the same way. Again: Who decides?

    Perhaps at Pemmi-Con/NASFIC 2023 (20-23 July) in Winnipeg, a similar change could be initiated. The difference here tho is that WSFS has set-out-in print governing clauses re both Worldcons and NASFICs.

    Exactly! While Pemmi-Con does plan to hold a Business Meeting (the first ever NASFiC Business Meeting, and I’m chairing it), that meeting is explicitly bound by WSFS Constitution Section 4.8.5 (just ratified this year) that it can only deal with NASFiC site selection matters. If Pemmi-Con were not conducting a NASFiC site selection for 2024, there would be no Business Meeting.

    I can see only two legal paths here, one of which is strong and clear and the other of which is weak and highly debatable. The first is if the Chengdu committee, though a generally authorized representative, says they can’t hold their convention; Glasgow then takes over and figures out the next steps. The second, significantly weaker one, is one that I’m leaving as an exercise (for now) to other people to see if they’ve reached the same conclusion I have about it.

  19. At least my real worry, that a large only semi recognisable as a WorldCon event might then pass on it’s large numbers of local voters to ensure that 2015 would be Shanghai, 2027 would be Bejing and so on, doesn’t seem to be happening.

  20. I voted in site selection for 2023. However, my e-mail is not recognized as having any rights. Of course I don’t know how my e-mail might have been received. My e-mail has several versions. Or it may have been copied out wrong for the con database.

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