Draft Resolution About Worldcon Publications Policies

Worldcon 75’s recent clarification of its publications policy – and the reason one was needed – has prompted Jo Van Ekeren, Chris Barkley, Seth Breidbart, Greg Machlin, Farah Mendlesohn, Rick Moen, and Steven Silver to submit for consideration by this year’s Business Meeting a resolution that expresses what they feel are the best practices in making publications available in a digital age, and calls on Worldcon committees to communicate their policies well in advance.

Proposed Resolution of Continuing Effect

Short Title: Convention Publications to be Delivered to Members

Resolved, That it is the sense of the Business Meeting that…

  • Each Worldcon should deliver to all convention members the Progress Reports and the Souvenir Program Book in electronic format, either by mass delivery, or by individually-accessed downloads.
  • Each Worldcon should offer all Members the option to have delivered to them the Progress Reports in printed form.
  • Attending Members may choose to accept the Souvenir Program Book in printed form as provided at the convention, or to receive only the electronic format.
  • Each Worldcon should offer Supporting Members the option to have delivered to them the Souvenir Program Book in printed form.
  • The Worldcon may specify in advance a nominal fee to offset the printing and delivery costs for each of these publications for Supporting Members.
  • If a fee is to be charged for the printed version of either the Progress Reports and / or the Souvenir Program Books, this should be specified up front in the convention’s bid submission.
  • The option to sign up for the printed version of either or both publications should be included on the Site Selection ballots, and through the convention’s electronic Registration process.
  • Supporting Members who have not previously opted to select the print options may do so up to six weeks in advance of the Worldcon.
  • Attending Members who are unable to attend the convention will have their Souvenir Program Books delivered to them at no additional cost.
  • Printed Souvenir Program Books should be delivered to the members who opted for them within 3 months of the close of the convention.

Moved by: Jo Van Ekeren, Chris Barkley, Seth Breidbart, Greg Machlin, Farah Mendlesohn, Rick Moen, Steven Silver.

Commentary: The above is the revised version of my proposal for the WSFS Business Meeting for a Resolution of Continuing Effect regarding the distribution of Worldcon Progress Reports and Souvenir Program Books.

Resolutions are non-binding, but they are retained in a permanent document and provide advice to future Worldcons of the members’ preferences for how things should be handled.


The intent of this resolution is not to hamstring Worldcon committees, or cause them financial hardship, or require unnecessary usage of natural resources for printing; but to ensure that the Worldcon membership has access to the convention publications in their preferred format.

I did specifically consider print-on-demand when writing this up, and do not believe that its verbiage excludes POD as an acceptable option for providing either the PRs or the Souvenir Book. If someone sees a way that it would exclude POD, please let me know.

I agree that in an ideal world, Supporting Members would continue to receive printed copies of the PRs and the Souvenir Program Book at no additional cost, because it *is* an accessibility consideration.

However, given the rising cost of printing and especially postage charges, I think it is not realistic to expect that practice to continue without raising the current ceiling on the Supporting Membership fee and allowing Worldcons to recoup those costs. Depending on a member’s geographical location and that of the convention, printing and postage charges for one Souvenir Book could well eat up the entire amount of the Supporting Membership fee (or even exceed it).

This resolution is intended to provide guidance to future Worldcons for ensuring that each of these two publications is available to all members in their choice of printed or digital format, and that the availability and arrangements for these are communicated up front to members during the bid process, as well as on the convention’s website and social media announcements.

Jo Van Ekeren


12 thoughts on “Draft Resolution About Worldcon Publications Policies

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  2. As an attending or supporting member of nearly every Worldcon sunce 1968, I fully support this and think it is a reasonable policy that would not cause any Worldcon a substantial burden.

  3. Just what exactly are the ‘costs’ associated with ‘supporting memberships’ to the Worldcon?
    Somebody pays that much money just for the right to nominate and vote and gets a copy of the program that costs the WORLDCON postage and the incremental cost of printing extra copies of a document they already put together and mailed in the past. So why do you think they need more money? It really costs $45 to mail a program?

  4. Sounds good to me! As a supporting member since Loncon, I have received only a digital souvenir book from Loncon. And no information one way or the other for Sasquan or MAC2. So it seems that this perq has somewhat understandably fallen through the cracks recently.

  5. Thanks JJ, appreciate the info. I would still suggest that the onus for paying for physically attending the WORLDCON should be born by those who attend the WORLDCON. Supporting members do provide support and many forgo the physical reports and symbols and accept electronic versions.
    If the cost of putting on the show has grown, surely the ones who go should pay the increase. The supporting members care less about supporting the fundaments of the people who attend. They pay because that is the only way their voice is heard in the nomination and voting process. Raise the cost of that too high and you’ll lose them altogether and then where will your 7% come from?
    As you can probably tell, we’re almost talking at cross-purposes. I am nattering about voting and nominating and you are talking about how much it costs to put on a party. There is no “right” answer that I’m aware of but it bears thinking about when one considers upping the costs of supporting memberships.

  6. Curtis: we’re almost talking at cross-purposes. I am nattering about voting and nominating and you are talking about how much it costs to put on a party.

    We are talking at cross-purposes, but it’s not because I am talking about putting on a party. It’s because you’re referring to Supporting Membership as if its only real purpose is to gain Hugo nominating and voting privileges, while I am referring to Supporting Membership in its original purpose for being — which is to help one’s friends put on the annual convention one loves, even if one is not able to attend in a given year.

    Mike can speak to this (the purpose and history of Supporting Membership) far better than I can (and I hope that he will have the time and energy to do so), but I will say that I am going to push back against your characterization of a Supporting Membership as the purchase of Nominating and Voting Rights, just as I did when an infinite number of Dolorous and Hydrophobic Puppies repeated that bogus canard.

    You can’t purchase Hugo nominating and voting rights. There’s no fee for them. They are one of the several privileges which come with a Supporting Membership, the single purpose of which is to help support — put on — a Worldcon.

  7. Curtis: What you say is that supportive memberships shouldn’t be supportive? That is a weird idea.

  8. I’m not aware of any “current ceiling on the Supporting Membership fee”. A lot of voters get supporting membership, and supporting membership for non-voters can’t exceed 125% of the voting fee, but the voting fee is set by the bids, and can be $100 if that’s what the bids want.

  9. @JJ et al: I think you’re reading too much into the term “Supporting”; from my view (going back over 40 years) it was always intended to let people who couldn’t attend keep some connection, with a label that came from who-knows-where. I’m appalled at this amendment’s allowing a convention to charge extra to deliver a physical program book; I did an analysis like Kevin’s in 1989(*) and fully support his conclusion that “supporting” memberships bring in much more than they cost. (Note also that his analysis does not involve electronic PRs, which have since become accepted; he found supportings cost the convention ~55% of their fee, but e-reports would drop this to ~35%). AFAICT the biggest reason for not lowering the price is ~political, e.g. to require a greater stake from people voting on site selection.

    (*) and this was using numbers peculiar to the time; e.g., 3 departments in N3 bought computers, at least two of which (Registration and Publications) could be considered part of Supporting costs. (The 3rd was Treasury, which could be argued.)

    @MIke Scott: the current Worldcon committee also has a vote on the membership fee — and a strong motivation not to accept an outrageous value, because they’ll see immediate blowback. (4.2.2 also says that non-unanimity on the fee gets the median of recent past fees, which means that bidders can’t force the fee up just by picking something ridiculous and accepting an average.) So you are correct technically, but not practically.

  10. @Chip Hitchcock: “I’m appalled at this amendment’s allowing a convention to charge extra to deliver a physical program book”

    Nothing stops them now, right? Isn’t that part of the reason this came about – something to push WorldCons to at least give Supporting Members something (i.e., at least electronic) – as well as specify what’s what in their bid.

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