DisCon III Explains Why It Isn’t Posting a Membership List

DisCon III fielded a question Ellen Datlow posted in their Facebook group asking why they are not making a membership list available. Here are screencaps from the dialog.

Because DisCon III made an ambiguous reply about whether the harassers are members, there remains an open question whether the committee should be enforcing their Code of Conduct against the individuals.

59 thoughts on “DisCon III Explains Why It Isn’t Posting a Membership List

  1. Yes. It would be a great idea for you to talk to a lawyer conversant in GDPR compliance.

    Also talk to them about the implications of the Pass-Along-Fund and operating under a unincorporated entity that never the less has it’s own written directives, by-laws and instructions that apply to Worldcons.

  2. There’s nothing in the WSFS Constitution that establishes it as the parent organization of a Worldcon committee.

    There specifically is, it’s this clause –

    2.9.3: Each Worldcon or NASFiC Committee should dispose of surplus funds remaining after accounts are settled for its convention for the benefit of WSFS as a whole.

  3. WSFS (and WIP, the corporation that WSFS owns and controls) is the owner of the intellectual property: the service marks on “Worldcon,” “Hugo Award,” etc. WSFS doesn’t run Worldcon: it licenses it to individual organizations under specific conditions, and those conditions amount to “follow the WSFS Constitution.”

    This is similar to how the International Olympic Committee does not operate the Olympic Games: it licenses the right to hold the games to individual host committees, which have to follow the rules that the IOC makes. The difference with WSFS is that the members of the Worldcon are the ones who make the rules.

  4. So ask members to show our in to have their info displayed online. My local con (VCON, in Vancouver, Canada) started doing that years ago…

  5. @Jenni Merrifield
    DisCon does have a checkbox for members to opt-out of being on the list. But they seemed to have decided to opt everyone out regardless by not even having a list.

  6. At the end of the day, the big heat seems to be made over (on one side) “worldcons have by default used opt-out” and on the other “GDPR strongly prefers opt-ins”.

    My (no, I am not a lawyer, this is personal, not legal) advise would be to actually have an un-ticked opt-in, instead of an un-ticked opt-out. At that point, each person on the members list would have taken a positive action to have their membership broadcasted, which is pretty much all that GDPR requires )or, at least, from my reading).

    As usual, it may be worth checking this with an actual lawyer with domain-specific expertise. Also remembering that this covers all WorldCons with European members.

  7. When I joined the British SF Association back in the 1970s, it published an annual membership list, complete with full postal addresses. A highly useful tool, and several friendships grew out my initial copy.

  8. I’m assuming DisCon III did the best it could in the face of an unpleasant situation not of its making, and regret the loss of a membership list including those who affirmatively wish to be listed (which would include me and my wife Deirdre), but let us please move on.

    For subsequent Worldcons, I hope even the annoying bureaucratic obstacle that is GDPR will not prevent publishing a member list in future, provided inclusion is on an opt-in basis.

    I’ve already gotten used to overriding GDPR defaults for, e.g., my Internet domain registrations, about which, being serviced through an excellent NZ reseller of an excellent German registrar, I periodically have to jump through hoops to insist “Yes, I really do affirmatively wish for real names, addresses, telephone numbers, and e-mail addresses to be displayed in my domain WHOIS record to the public at large. Full stop.” It’s a low-level annoyance that is now becoming routine and standard, so, I won’t object as long as I’m able to tell future Worldcons “No, really, please un-hide me. I’m just weird, I deliberately participate in public under my real name and contact information, and I therefore wish to be trivially findable by fandom and by any/all others. Please humour me.”

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