EPH Re-Ratified, Pro-Ukraine and Anti-Lukianenko Resolutions Passed by Chicon 8 Business Meeting

The “E Pluribus Hugo” system of counting Hugo Award nominations was re-ratified at Saturday’s Chicon 8 WSFS Business Meeting. Also passed were a resolution of solidarity with Ukraine, and another resolution condemning Sergey Lukianenko, a guest of honor of the forthcoming 2023 Worldcon, for his many statements supporting the invasion of Ukraine. (Thanks to Alex Acks’ Business Meeting liveblog for reporting this news.)

E PLURIBUS HUGO RE-RATIFIED. E Pluribus Hugo, the change in the way Hugo Awards nominations are counted, was passed in 2015 and ratified in 2016 to counter how Sad and Rabid Puppies’ slates dictated most of finalists on the Hugo ballots in those years. It came with a 2022 sunset clause attached, and had to be re-ratified this year in order to remain part of the WSFS Constitution. (See “Will E Pluribus Hugo Survive Re-Ratification?”)

At today’s business meeting Dave Wallace, one of the originators of EPH, said its overall effect has been “very beneficial”. He also spoke against the narrative that it is a “black box” and discussed his spot checking of the published voting reports.

David Kaplan presented a comparatively new argument against, that the EPH method may push works by marginalized creators down due to a slating effect of members of marginalized communities simply nominating those from their communities. He thought voters should instead use “no award” to counter slates.

In the end, EPH was “resoundingly” re-ratified. Alex Acks’ fuller notes of the discussion are here.

RESOLUTIONS. As reported by Alex Acks’ Business Meeting liveblog, Chuck Serface, a former Peace Corps volunteer who was in Ukraine, called on the meeting to support Ukraine by passing the following resolution:

Short Title: Solidarity with Ukraine 

Resolved, that it is the spirit of the Business Meeting to offer solidarity with Ukrainian Fans, recognizing that Ukraine has been invaded by fascists. We encourage all to boycott those who would platform or champion the illegal invasion. The Business Meeting looks forward to a return of freedom and fandom to Ukraine.  

Proposed by: Borys Sydiuk, James Bacon, Erin Underwood, Chris Garcia, Kelly Buehler, Frank Kalisz, Mike Glyer, Ian Stockdale, Dave Farmer, and Chuck Serface

Chuck Serface accompanied the submission of the resolution with the following statement:

Ukraine is an ancient and wonderful land. Ukrainians are kind and welcoming people. Ukraine is a young country. Our fandom is growing, our love of literature, science fiction and space fight strong, our conventions pleasant. We ask for solidarity. 

Fans who allow the platform or champion of the illegal invasion, should know that this is not right. Fandom is about friendship. Not a space for fascists to gloat or goad. We have asked for a clear message, it supports a civilized and democratic approach to this matter. 

As the Business Meeting had allocated only four minutes of discussion time to each resolution, there was time for only two areas of concern to be developed. First, the contention that a resolution concerning “real world politics” is not WSFS business. The chair of the meeting was asked to rule whether such a resolution is within their purview. He ruled it was, and his ruling was sustained when appealed to a vote by the meeting. Second, a member argued that the phrase “by fascists” be removed “due to Godwin’s Law.” That amendment was voted down.

Then the resolution – with its original wording intact — was passed.

Then the meeting took up the second resolution:

Short Title: Sergey Lukianenko

Resolved, that it is the spirit of the Business Meeting to show solidarity with Ukrainian fans and to condemn Worldcon 2023’s Guest of Honour, Sergey Lukianenko’s appalling utterances, calling Ukrainians Nazis and encouraging an illegal invasion of Ukraine. This is utterly unacceptable. Lukianenko should neither be platformed nor celebrated, and we ask the Chengdu 2023 committee, fans and members to refuse Sergei Lukianenko as your guest. it is shameful that he is honored by Worldcon.

Proposed by: Borys Sydiuk, James Bacon, Erin Underwood, Chris Garcia, Kelly Buehler, Frank Kalisz, Mike Glyer, Ian Stockdale, Dave Farmer, and Chuck Serface

Chengdu Worldcon co-chair Ben Yalow raised a Point of Order that the WSFS constitution forbids the interference of WSFS in the matter of Worldcon guests. The chair ruled against Yalow, because the resolution asks and does not direct or otherwise require action. This ruling was also appealed to a vote of the meeting and was sustained.

Then the meeting also voted to adopt the resolution.

Update 09/12/2022: Separated Chuck Serface’s statement from the language of the resolution.

37 thoughts on “EPH Re-Ratified, Pro-Ukraine and Anti-Lukianenko Resolutions Passed by Chicon 8 Business Meeting

  1. I’m very pleased that the Lukianenko resolution passed, but I’m finding it hard to reconcile the fact that no one is talking about the OTHER guest of honor at Worldcon 2023, Liu Cixin.

    Liu Cixin is a phenomenal writer, but he openly endorsed China’s genocidal policies against the Uyghurs in a New Yorker interview a couple of years ago.

    Are we just going to pretend that didn’t happen?

  2. Andrew Gillsmith: I don’t think it’s impossible, but I believe it would have to be introduced by someone at the meeting and then would only be added to the agenda if allowed by the chair. (I’m sure someone will be along to correct me if I have any of that wrong.)(Or even if I don’t….)

  3. Repeating stuff I’ve said before, but: I’m glad the Lukianenko resolution passed. I’m disappointed that Ben Yalow tried to stop it.

    We’ll see what boycotting anyone who “platforms the invasion” means in practice. I hope it doesn’t result in conventions’ blacklisting any hosting company that isn’t sufficiently censorious.

    Russia is an old-style authoritarian state, not specifically fascist in nature, but that’s a minor detail.

  4. David Kaplan presented a comparatively new argument against, that the EPH method may push works by marginalized creators down due to a slating effect of members of marginalized communities simply nominating those from their communities.

    Well it is water under the bridge now and EPH passed (yay) but that is still a wrongheaded argument. EPH does not and cannot uniformly punish slates or organic voting that looks like slates. The only way a work by a marginalised creator could be pushed down by EPH because of organic slating would be if another work was also being pushed up.

    Under the old system if work A & B were being favoured mainly by group X with few votes from outside group X (i.e. so it A & B act like a slate) then either group X has just about enough votes to push A & B on the ballot or they don’t. Maybe A just gets on and B doesn’t but B would be close behind. EPH increases the chance that one of A or B gets on the ballot. Wouldn’t it be better in marginalized group X gets two things on the ballot though? Sure except, what about marginalised group Y? etc.

    EPH doesn’t guarantee a varied ballot (c.f. The Good Place) but it works toward it.

  5. Does Ben Yalow lose more votes than he wins when he speaks at WSFS Business Meetings? He’s a longtime SMOF and Big Heart winner, so I mean no disrespect, but a weathervane he is not.

  6. @Gary McGath–“hosting company”? Please clarify?

    @Andrew Gillsmith–I think it’s completely unrealistic to think the Chengdu committee can take an action so directly critical of the government, so it would be pointless. Whether that’s why it hasn’t happened, I really don’t know.

    Dropping Lukianenko as a guest is, I think, extremely unlikely, but not impossible, like dropping Liu Cixin (in my opinion), so worth at least passing the resolution.

  7. Lis,
    I don’t think raising these concerns can ever be pointless.

    You are right that the Chengdu committee cannot offend the government, but that is beside the point. If the sci fi community fails to express justifiable outrage over support for a literal, ongoing genocide, then it makes our other statements seem a bit less sincere, imo.

  8. Just because the Chengdu committee is (presumably) heavily censored is no reason for Western voices to censor themselves.

  9. Lis, finally someone I can agree with. Since February, I had hoped that it might be in the realm of possible for the concom to lose Lukyanenko while minimizing the fuss, mumbling just “well, the membership doesn’t want him, we’re listening”. He’s just a foreigner after all, and the “People’s Republic” is hedging on the war. Whether the resolution helps or hurts the chances of this, is hard to guess now, but I’m with bill – at least the WSFS has clearly said “Not in our name”. He’s a hatemongerer comparable to the worst of Baen’s Bar.

    Then it got complicated by the Uyghur petition. Yes, it is pretty much impossible for the concom to address a policy of their own totalitarian government, except by regurgitating its propaganda (even if they were of a different opinion privately, which is uncertain). It is also quite unrealistic to think they would disinvite their own native GoH, a natural choice, who was after all anointed by the WSFS/Worldcon a few years ago (for a series full of jingoism, incidentally). That horse is long out of the barn door since the site selection. One has to be content with small victories, and I am.

  10. Does EPH need later re- ratification, or will it remain in effect automatically henceforth unless explicitly repealed?

  11. As far as Godwin’s Law goes, Godwin himself has clarified that the law was aimed at the sort of ridiculous hyperbole that is often found on the net, and that, when the comparison is apt (e.g. when referring to violent racist or nationalist thugs), you should feel free to use appropriate terms, with his full blessing.

    I’m not sure it matters what “platforming” means, since the resolution merely asks people to boycott those who “platform the invasion”. Even people who agree with and support the resolution are allowed to use their own common sense when interpreting the request. Sure, it might be nice to be more specific, but that way lies madness and a million crazy edge-cases.

  12. Andrew (not Werdna): EPH is now a permanent part of the WSFS Constitution. As you say, unless repealed through the process for changing the constitution.

  13. OGH’s understanding of the process for introducing late new business is consistent with mine. It’s governed by Standing Rule 2.1.

    @rcade: I would note that Ben Yalow spoke in favor of the nontransferability amendment today, which was subsequently ratified 46–40.

  14. rcade: Does Ben Yalow lose more votes than he wins when he speaks at WSFS Business Meetings? ….a weathervane he is not.

    If it’s any indication, at the WSFS meetings, whenever he gets called on to speak, a significant portion of the WSFS membership audibly groans. His speeches are inevitably very looooooooong and take a great deal of time to get to the point… which they don’t always do.

  15. @rcade & @JJ – I personally have a lot of respect for Ben; he’s got a very different perspective from me that I value deeply, one which generally focuses on the letter of the rule… which is actually very important in a body as bureaucratic as WSFS. A lot of business meeting decisions boil down to what we then want the spirit or the meaning behind those rules to actually be, but knowing what they actually say is an incredibly important starting point. Ben’s always very measured and thoughtful, and I feel like I learn a lot from what when he speaks.

    @Andrew – Per Rule 2.1, non-privileged new business must be submitted no later than 30 days prior to the Preliminary Business Meeting.

  16. Alex Acks: The last sentence of Rule 2.1 about the authority of the presiding officer is what I was relying on. Then if the motion was allowed to be presented it would have to come at the end of the agenda.

  17. New business either has to be allowed by the Chair (and then it goes to the end of the agenda), or else that rule has to be suspended by a 2/3 vote. That is, if someone proposes a motion that the Chair does not want to allow onto the agenda, the person proposing it could move “to suspend the rules to allow the introduction of the following motion…” and if 2/3 of the members vote to do so, the motion could be introduced and considered. The motion to suspend the rules is not debatable, but if passed, the motion allowed onto the agenda would be debatable.

  18. Yes, well I attended the business meetting for the third or fourth time ever, and am still extremely pissed off at the change that no one here’s dscussinbg – that from here on out, you will buy a WSFS membership, and then an “upgrade” to attending…and if you suddenly find you can’t go, for one reason or another, sellng it – and this is not clear to me – does NOT man that the buyer can attend… without also buying a WSFS membership.

    We are NOT a professional organization, and this is a mnoetary attack on young fen, and people who don’t make much, or are on a fixed income. Buying a membership from someone is not like buying a game expansion without buying the game.

    As I said at the meeting, this is unfannish, and it’s exclusionary, To me, it’s a step towards deciding who can vote, and who can’t.

    I’m considering either a motion,or a referral to committee, of a requirement for the WSFS business meetings to be hybrid, so that if you can’t attend for one reason or another, you can still get in and speak and vote, if you’re a WSFS member.

  19. I was thinking of making a copy of the solidarity declaration with Ukraine and doing the same for Palestine. After all, they are exactly the same type of conflicts with one brutal power attacking the other, performing land theft and cultural genocide.

    I expect to get exactly the same support, at least if orientalist racism doesn’t come into play.

  20. I’m not there, and I’m not a member. But yes, the Uyghur issue (and Liu Cixin’s odious comments about it) should absolutely be addressed.

  21. If it is not too late, I would happily join, drive up to Chicago, and do whatever possible to get this resolution on the floor for a vote.

  22. … from here on out, you will buy a WSFS membership, and then an “upgrade” to attending…and if you suddenly find you can’t go, for one reason or another, sellng it – and this is not clear to me – does NOT man that the buyer can attend… without also buying a WSFS membership.

    I am confused.

    Based on the amendment, it looks like memberships can’t be sold at all.

    Are Worldcons going to offer a refund when people have to cancel their plans to attend?

  23. @Jeff – You’re welcome! 🙂

    @rcade – Yeah I find it pretty confusing, too. During debate yesterday multiple people asserted that WSFS memberships cannot be transferred but the actual ticket to WorldCon (the attending upgrade) could be, which I suppose makes sense? (Though we do always note that debate in the business meeting need not be factual, only collegial.) Though then that would only really work if the person you’re selling that to also has a WSFS membership, because otherwise there’s someone wandering around the convention that shouldn’t be allowed into the business meeting, etc. Which was also pointed out during the debate (I think) though I didn’t get to document it. Either way, I’m not a fan of this one, though I’ve got a lot of sympathy for the ConZealand folks whose position was basically “we don’t care what way you decide this, please just decide this so it’s not a burden placed on the administrators in the future.”

  24. Yeah, what I read on the Glasgow website looks like that (to me, who understands too little of these membership issues):

    “Holders of tickets/attending supplements may transfer these to another person, if that person has the requisite WSFS membership required […um, isn’t this a pleonasm? …] and meets the requirements for the [ticket]. But, even if you transfer the [ticket] to someone else, you will retain your WSFS membership and can continue to vote in the Hugo Awards and Site Selection.”

    Also, the only refunds will be “if a member has accidentally purchased two WSFS memberships … as an individual cannot hold more than one WSFS membership, and they cannot transfer a WSFS membership … £5 deduction to cover … costs and … charges.” So it is basically just as transfering memberships was before, with the added hassle/benefit of unalienable WSFS voting rights.

    Anyway, the prices stay until May, so I guess there’s time to clear it up. Of course, it’s more pressing with Chengdu.

    Alex, thank you very much too (I tried to comment at yours but it’s still in moderation… I hope). I would nominate you for the fanwriting Hugo if I could 😉

  25. Pingback: What Did We Learn About the Chengdu Worldcon During Chicon 8? | File 770

  26. Just for the record, the D.5 as adopted (or indeed proposed and voted) are just the three sentences ending with “return of freedom and fandom to Ukraine.”; the following paragraphs are extraneous,.

  27. I still wonder about the Canadian writer, Robert Sawyer. Does he want to be in that company?

  28. Linda Robinett: I still wonder about the Canadian writer, Robert Sawyer. Does he want to be in that company?

    Sawyer has been and continues to be an enthusiastic supporter of the Chengdu bid and Worldcon in China, so apparently he doesn’t have a problem with the company he’s keeping.

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