First Chicon 8 Business Meeting Agenda Posted

Chicon 8, the 2022 Worldcon, has published the initial draft of the Business Meeting agenda. It can be downloaded here. (Subsequent updates will be found on Chicon 8’s Business Meeting page.) This includes the usual spate of new WSFS Constitution proposals with clever titles meant to entertain fellow business meeting regulars and baffle everyone else.

Among the proposals are several from the Hugo Study Committee created at the 2019 Business Meeting.

The full text of the proposals plus supporting statements are at the link.

MOTIONS TO EXTEND HUGO ELIGIBILITY

There are four resolutions to extend the Hugo eligibility of these science fiction films: After Yang, Strawberry Mansion, Neptune Frost, and Mad God; all proposed by Nana Amuah, Olav Rokne, and Cora Buhlert.

BUSINESS PASSED ON FROM DISCON III

Several amendments to the WSFS Constitution ratified in 2016 in connection with the E Pluribus Hugo voting reform that included a 2022 sunset clause must now be re-ratified in order to remain in effect.

Then, there are these new rules changes which received first passage at DisCon III (2021) that are up for ratification.

“30 Days Hath New Business” creates a deadline for submission of new business.

“The Statue of Liberty Play” removes the requirement to pass on to the next Worldcon postal addresses as part of the contact information of people “who have given permission for that data transfer and only for the purposes for which permission to use that data was given.”

“A Matter of Days” adjusts existing rules language from months to a specific number of days.

“Non-transferability of Voting Rights” replaces the supporting/attending Worldcon membership structure with “WSFS memberships” and “attending member supplements”, with the WSFS memberships being non-transferable (e.g., could not be sold on by the owner.)

NEW CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS

“The Zero Percent Solution” proposes to repeal Section 3.12.2 of the Constitution which sets conditions for not awarding a Hugo in any category where the total number of valid ballots cast (excluding those cast for “No Award” in first place) is less than twenty-five per cent (25%) of the total number of final Award ballots received. The case for this change is made by Olav Rokne in his File 770 article “Hugo Voting Threshold Reform Proposal”.

The Olav Rokne (and company) proposal is opposed head-on by the Hugo Study Committee’s “To Defuse the Turnout Bomb, Cut the Red Wire…” which moves to preserve the 25% rule but limit its application to circumstances where “the total number of valid ballots cast for that category, excluding those cast for ‘No Award’ in first place, is fewer than 200.”

The Hugo Awards Study Committee has also introduced these other proposals:

“Clearing Up the Artist Categories Forever (No, Really, We Swear It This Time!)” proposes to change the definition of “Best Professional Artist” to “One or more collaborators on a body of work first displayed during the previous calendar year and created as i) work for hire, ii) on paid commission, or iii) for sale (either directly or via a paywall-like structure).” And to change “Best Fan Artist” to “One or more collaborators on a body of work first displayed during the previous calendar year in a fashion that did not qualify for Best Professional Artist – i.e. neither work for hire, nor commissioned for pay, nor for sale.”

“One Rocket Per Customer, Please!” is actually about eligibility for the Best Series category, not how many trophies can be distributed.  Previous winners of the Best Series Hugo would be barred from future eligibility in the category (they current are eligible once certain conditions are met). So would any series “containing an individual installment which has won a Hugo Award of any type in its nominated format.” Also, no series would be eligible in the same year as any of its installments makes the final ballot.

“A Work, By Any Other Name…” is a second not-mutually-exclusive amendment regarding Best Series intended to bar “any series from appearing on the final ballot for the Hugo Award for Best Series only in a year where an installment for that series also appears on the final ballot. It was, however, drawn more broadly in order to also restrict (for example) a short story appearing in the same year that a fix-up novel containing such a story was published. Thus, ‘content’ was used in lieu of ‘work’.”

“An Aristotelian Solution to Fan vs Pro” according to the Committee “seeks to establish a uniform set of boundaries between the two general categories of content, as well as to ensure that no ‘gap’ emerges where something is considered Fan in one sense, Professional in another sense, and therefore not eligible in either category.” The proposal replaces the existing language of 3.2.11 with this text:

A professional publication is a publication produced by professional activity. Any category including language pertaining to non-professional or professional activity will be understood to use the definitions in 3.2.X and 3.2.Y.

3.2.X: Professional activity shall be that which was undertaken with the expectation of sale or other direct profit (by the creator or any co-creators), or which can only be accessed after a payment is made (other than incidental fees, e.g. convention membership fees).

3.2.Y: Non-professional activity shall be that which was not undertaken with the expectation of sale or other direct profit (by the creator or any co- creators), and which can be accessed in a full and final version without any payment.

3.2.Z: All activity shall be considered either Professional or Non-Professional. In cases where there is some doubt as to which category applies to a given work or activity, the will of the nominators should be considered, as should the greater need to protect fan (non-professional) activity against professional activity than the reverse.

“If a Tree Falls in The Woods and Nobody Is Around…” creates a mechanism that requires low-voter-participation categories to be considered for removal by the Worldcon Business Meeting:

3.12.3: In the event that the total number of valid ballots cast for a specific category (excluding those cast for No Award in First Place) is fewer than ten per cent (10%) of the total number of final Award ballots received in a non-Retro Hugo vote in two years out of three successive years, an amendment effecting the removal of that category from the list of enumerated Hugo Award categories shall be automatically placed on the agenda for the next Worldcon’s Business Meeting.

The Agenda says the Hugo Awards Study Committee (“HASC”) for 2019-2020 consisted of Cliff Dunn (Chair), Alex Acks, Andrew A. Adams, Ira Alexandre, Paul Cornell, Joni Brill Dashoff, Todd Dashoff, Vincent Docherty, Kathryn Duval, Martin Easterbrook, Lisa Garrison, Helen Gbala, Colin Harris, John Hertz, Kevin Hewett, Tim Illingworth, Kat Jones, Marguerite Kenner, Guy Kovel, Joshua Kronengold, Michael Lee, Perrianne Lurie, Mark J. Meenan, Farah Mendlesohn, Lisa Padol, Hanne Paine, PRK, Martin Pyne, Oskari Rantala, Mark Richards, Claire Rousseau, Ann Marie Rudolph, Kate Secor, Kevin Standlee, Corina Stark, Kelly Strait, Don A. Timm, Kári Tulinius, Jo Van Ekeren, Lew Wolkoff, Betsy Wollheim, and Ben Yalow. The agenda does not state whether any changes were made to the Committee’s membership in subsequent years.

29 thoughts on “First Chicon 8 Business Meeting Agenda Posted

  1. The change proposed by the Hugo Awards Study Committee does not fix the fundamental problem, just changes the circumstances under which it would be triggered.

    It still presents the possibility of a situation in which someone would be denied a Hugo when that is not the expressed will of Hugo voters.

    If the 200-vote threshold had been in place in 2007, then Lee Hoffman, Geri Sullivan, and Randy Byers would have come dangerously close to being denied the Hugo Award. Actually much closer than the existing rule.

    There is no downside to just axing 3.12.2 of the WSFS constitution altogether. If there needs to be a vote threshold for category relevance (which I’m not certain there is), then that threshold should apply at the nominations stage, but absolutely not at the final balloting stage.

  2. Olav Rokne on July 19, 2022 at 3:14 pm said:

    The change proposed by the Hugo Awards Study Committee does not fix the fundamental problem, just changes the circumstances under which it would be triggered.

    Indeed. I’m not against a new rule to replace the old one but provoked by your suggested change, I’ve become really opposed to a rule that applies at the final vote stage. It’s not fair to the finalists whatever the cut off is to be told they are in the running for a Hugo Award and then have them all lose (notable historical incident involving miserable baby hounds notwithstanding)

  3. Once again, I am incredibly disappointed that the WSFS Business Meeting has not (and probably at this point, no intention of) addressing the rather antiquated designation of Semi-Prozine category nor the obvious shortcoming of the Best Dramatic Presentation Long Form – Short Form category.

    The solutions for these problems have been proposed by myself and many others over the past decade but it seems as though the consensus of the members of the Business Meeting is, as it has been for quite some time, “if it ain’t broke, why try to fix it?”

    Insert the metaphor of the forest and trees right here.

    Which is too bad. And also, for the sake of my sanity among other things, the main reason I stopped attending the Business Meetings altogether.

    I wish all the proponents of the New Business the best of luck. They’re going to need it…

    Chris B.

  4. “An Aristotelian Solution to Fan vs Pro”

    I’m not sure about this one either

    A fan writer’s Patreon post would count as “professional” by this standard, whereas a piece at a professional but free-to-access outlet would be of more marginal status (I guess depending on whether the writer was paid or not? I can see an argument that Patreon or Kickstarter income may not count as “profit” as the money is covering the cost of the writer/artist to write etc but that just raises more issues.

  5. @Olav Rockne
    I suspect that we will go over this in Chicago, but this depends on what one thinks the exact problem is, and there are (sincerely) differing view on this. With that being said, I think there is agreement between most of the folks involved that there is /a/ problem.

    I would point out that the 200-vote threshold we have proposed does not abolish the 25% rule, it merely “caps it off” at 200 votes (i.e. 800 ballots submitted). If less than 800 ballots are cast (something which the minority report in the rather-longer Hugo Award Study Committee report, which we’re finalizing, suggests isn’t a problem we should be planning to deal with), it’s 25% of the total number of ballots submitted. If turnout exceeds 800, then it’s 200.

    So in the 2007 example which was provided above – I cannot find the exact number of ballots cast on the results sheet, but going with a (generally decently accurate) assumption that 80% of all ballots cast include a vote for Best Novel, 471 votes cast for Best Novel would indicate about 589 ballots cast overall. That, in turn, would set the 25% bar at about 147 votes cast, not 200 (as Olav implies above). The award in question (best Fanzine in 2007) had 210 votes cast with a first-round preference other than No Award. That is NOT “dangerously close” to 147 (give or take, again, because we don’t have a total-number-of-ballots-cast total).

    I won’t lie – and I think Olav (et al) and the majority view on the HASC have a sincere difference of belief here – but the 2007 Hugo Awards are /exactly/ the sort of situation that the original rule was devised to deal with. To quote Olav’s original article:

    “Over the course of the 1970s, the Hugos had an average of 800 people voting on the final Hugo ballot; at the time the “no Award presentation” threshold could be assumed to be 200 votes or so. And if a category were to only garner 200 votes, one could understand that this might be a sign that there was a lack of interest.”

    Most of the argumentation in Olav’s initial essay focused on the fact that the 25% rule would potentially trigger at a very high raw number of votes cast (if 3000 total ballots are cast, it would trigger at 750 votes in a given category). I concur. That’s getting a bit absurd and I think we both strongly doubt that there was an expectation of this when the rule was first written back in the 1970s. But down in a (potential) low-turnout scenario I think the reasoning behind the original rule still prevails, and that logic is still solid. It’s just a bit more of a mess with massive turnout in some of the other categories (by historical standards).

    There is a material difference between being concerned that a category might not “go” despite somewhere in the high hundreds of votes being cast (which, as Olav’s essay indicated, would have been high overall turnout in the 1960s and a plausible overall turnout level through much of the 1980s and 1990s) and wanting to make sure that a category /does/ “go” even if turnout is down in the high double digits – something that Olav’s proposal would enable, barring the Hugo Administrator invoking a “marked lack of interest” due to abysmal turnout, a decision likely to be highly controversial at the final ballot stage). This is the difference between what the HASC came up with in deliberations in response to Olav’s initial article and what Olav’s team came up with.

    ===== ===== ===== ===== =====

    Olav’s original essay also indicated the following:
    “We would suggest that instead of a percentage threshold to indicate a lack of interest in a category, the WSFS should consider a fixed numerical threshold. Of course, just like the 25 per cent threshold, this would be an arbitrary number, but we feel that it should be set at a level that reflects a continued interest by a significant number of fans; clearly that threshold is higher than 10 people, but we’d argue that it’s also fewer than the 750 people that it might take to pass 25 per cent of a 3,000-voter Hugos that is not inconceivable in the near future. This number should be reviewed, likely every five years or so.

    “An alternate approach would be to change the result of a sub-25-per-cent participation in a category to a mandatory review of the category by the Hugo Awards Committee of the WSFS, rather than invalidating the work of those who did nominate and participate in the process.”

    These are more-or-less exactly what the HASC has attempted to do with two of our proposed amendments (indicated above).

  6. I oppose the idea of putting something on the WSFS business meeting agenda automatically, such as the proposal to do this when a Hugo category’s total ballots cast are less than 10% of total ballots cast three years in a row.

    A business meeting proposal needs sponsors and significant support going into the meeting to have any chance of passage. The earlier they are floated and the more opinion they solicit of the business meeting electorate, the better the odds of success.

    If someone wants to kill a category that has fallen into a dismal level of participation, they should make a proposal and try to garner support. The WSFS Constitution shouldn’t be coming up with its own proposals. Stay in your lane, governing document.

  7. @Camestros Felapton:
    The concern with this, by and large, is that some things can land in a “neither fan nor pro” never-never land (and thus be ineligible in both cases). I take the view that the risk of some “misclassification” between the two categories is seen as a lesser risk to somebody being knocked out of both.

    With that being said, folks can be eligible in both Fan and Pro categories in the same field (and indeed, have won in both categories in the same field – Best Fan/Pro Artist in 1967 both went to Jack Gaughan).

    Also: Patreon/Kickstarter is a morass and it’s caused the HASC no end of heartburn in trying to draw these lines; the question of money changing hands is the best line we could come up with, and we DID weigh other possible boundary options such as “share of income” or a fixed income threshold. Arguably, however, the “spirit” of fan-vs-pro is held to by this – “fan” stuff was historically non-compensated. The question of postings on a “major” website are trickier to confront, but I think the other side of this is what to do with a “non-professional writer getting posted there (and not paid for it)” situation.

    [I think we may try and take a fresh look at Semiprozine in the future – it came up before – but there’s also a serious concern of slamming the Business Meeting with too much stuff all at once. Some of this material would have been dealt with in 2020 or 2021 if not for the pandemic, but 2020 being (effectively) cancelled and 2021 coming close to this seriously inhibited our ability to get work done.]

  8. Gray on July 19, 2022 at 4:54 pm said:
    The concern with this, by and large, is that some things can land in a “neither fan nor pro” never-never land (and thus be ineligible in both cases). I take the view that the risk of some “misclassification” between the two categories is seen as a lesser risk to somebody being knocked out of both.

    I think that is a worthy objective but the essence of the issue is that there are two axes here. One is the issue of professionalism (i.e. the extent to which people are paid to do something) and the other is fan activity (which is not about being paid but doesn’t mean the same thing as “amateur”). I get the idea of reducing it to one axes (payment) but you’ll end up with ugly choices.

    Also: Patreon/Kickstarter is a morass and it’s caused the HASC no end of heartburn in trying to draw these lines; the question of money changing hands is the best line we could come up with

    Rules that end up excluding Patreon etc are going to end up excluding a lot of younger fans creating good stuff. That’s not a good way forward.

  9. Gray on July 19, 2022 at 4:43 pm said:
    @Olav Rockne

    Rokne

    To quote Olav’s original article:

    Sorry to go on a tangent here. The original article (much like everything that goes on that blog) was co-authored with a number of people. (Amanda is always crucial to drafting posts, in this case Marshall Boyd did research, and Paul Senior proofread it. There are others I’d have to look up who were involved in the writing.) The UHBC blog updates way more slowly because everything has a long process of debate and editing before it goes up.

    there are (sincerely) differing view on this.

    Yes. And I think it’s good faith all around. My position has evolved in the past six months.

    When the UHBC blog post went up, I was of the opinion that a fixed threshold was a good and appropriate solution. As far as I’m aware, at least two of my coauthors on that post are still of that opinion.

    The drafting of the proposal to the WSFS business meeting began shortly after that blog post went up in March. During that debate, several people such as Gideon and Camestros made very strong arguments for the full abolishment of 3.12.2. But the key argument that swayed me was the idea that you could have a group of finalists go to the awards ceremony and have the rug pulled out from under them due to a technicality.

    The other argument that swayed me was that it’s fundamentally undemocratic. If the majority of those voting in a category pick a winner, why should there be a mechanism to negate their votes?

    I didn’t mind losing a Hugo to Nerds of a Feather last year. Frankly, I was exuberant to see them win. (Adri Joy, Joe Sherry, Vance Kotrla, and The G are all awesome, as are all the contributors to NOAF.) But if the Hugo had been no-awarded due to 3.12.2? I would have been steamed.

    But I get the idea that some mechanism for category relevance might be a good idea. Possibly, if a category falls below a threshold, that category should be by default not run in subsequent years unless the business meeting votes otherwise? I could get behind that.

    To conclude, when voters feel that there are no worthy finalists in a category, they have shown no reluctance to declare “No Award,” having done so for Best New Author in 1959, Best Dramatic in 1959, 1963, 1971, 1977, and several categories in 2015. One could even suggest that “No Award” is among the most successful Hugo finalists — having won just as many Hugos as Connie Willis and Ursula K. Le Guin. The rule as it exists — and the rule as proposed by the Hugo Study Committee — isn’t necessary when voters already have a way to express their disinterest in a ballot.

  10. @Olav:
    That’s not a tangent…your points regarding the threshold are quite relevant to the discussion rather than being incidental, and this is a fair debate to have. I hope we’re able to spar over it in Chicago. I do think that exceedingly low turnout does, at some point, speak for itself…there’s a reason for the “marked disinterest” clause, but I prefer that such an issue be handled through objective, quantitative standards rather than anything subjective. I’m concerned that getting rid of /any/ threshold leaves us with only a subjective standard.

    As to the idea of a mechanism for category relevance…that’s what “If a Tree Falls in The Woods and Nobody Is Around…” would accomplish (admittedly by automatically putting the category on the BM agenda for removal through an otherwise-normal amendment process rather than, for example, “suspending” it…I’d be concerned that this would lead to some “suspended” categories sort of hanging around, neither being operated nor abolished for some time.

  11. @Camestros Felapton

    I share your reservations about “An Aristotelian Solution to Fan vs Pro.” In additional to your Patreon example, this rule would disqualify a nonprofessional artist who shows their work in a convention art show from being denominated a fan artist for the purpose of the Hugo ballot if the artist offers the work for sale. This even if the artist anticipates making less than–let’s say $6,440 per year, the definition of deep poverty in U.S. for a household consisting of a single adult–by said convention sales.

    Is it sufficient to say such artist, if they care about Hugo eligibility, can simply not offer their work for sale for one year after its creation, or reserve posting their best stuff for outside a paywall? I would say no. My wife is a nonprofessional artist, who often says her first reason for selling her creations to make space for new ones. But let’s be real. Exchange of funds is the principle means by which our society expresses commitment and denotes value. Ability to make nonprofessional sales is crucial to the development of any artist, and further to the self esteem of many. What a nonprofessional artist does not need is the WSFS Constitution telling them that they have no business calling themselves a fan artist or fan writer if they would like to find out if a convention audience would pay them $50, $100, or $400 for some product of their heart and many hours of hard work.

  12. “One Rocket Per Customer, Please!” also known as the “of we give one to Seannan then will she go away forever” proposal?
    Not entirely convinced by this one..
    Not having a series up for best novel and best series in the same year seems reasonable (sorry Martha) don’t they should be there to do different things.
    Any section having won a rocket banning the series seems a bit Draconian. Wouldn’t that bar purity much every previous winner?

  13. There is a great difference between “none of these are worthy winners” and “I have no interest in / knowledge of this category”.
    I have never voted for best professional editor because I have no basis to form a judgement. Ticking “no award” would be more than harsh.

  14. Olav:
    I didn’t mind losing a Hugo to Nerds of a Feather last year. Frankly, I was exuberant to see them win. (Adri Joy, Joe Sherry, Vance Kotrla, and The G are all awesome, as are all the contributors to NOAF.) But if the Hugo had been no-awarded due to 3.12.2? I would have been steamed.

    There is no downside to just axing 3.12.2 of the WSFS constitution altogether. If there needs to be a vote threshold for category relevance (which I’m not certain there is), then that threshold should apply at the nominations stage, but absolutely not at the final balloting stage.

    yes, EXACTLY, which is why I am part of Olav’s proposal.

  15. “One Rocket Per Customer, Please!” also known as the “of we give one to Seannan then will she go away forever” proposal?
    Not entirely convinced by this one..
    Not having a series up for best novel and best series in the same year seems reasonable (sorry Martha) don’t they should be there to do different things.
    Any section having won a rocket banning the series seems a bit Draconian. Wouldn’t that bar purity much every previous winner?

    Some series can run for a very long time and only reach their peak in later volumes. Now Best Series didn’t exist back then, but e.g. Fritz Leiber’s Fafhrd and Gray Mouser series ran for almost 50 years – from 1939 to 1988 – and the highpoint of the series is generally considered the stretch from 1959 to 1970. Should a hypothetical Hugo win in 1943 have disqualified it forever?

  16. I am a member of the HASC, but speaking only for myself, I support Olav Rokne’s “Zero Percent Solution” ahead of the HASC’s proposals on the same topic. Given the historic volatility of voting numbers, it seems unwise to hardwire a definite number into the constitution. Equally, the current situation risks one particularly popular finalist in one category accidentally nuking one or more lower-participation categories.

    I actually drafted “Clearing Up the Artist Categories Forever (No, Really, We Swear It This Time!)” so I really hope it passes. The current situation frustrates everyone – the categories are too narrow and they exclude art that is popular and appreciated.

    I oppose both “One Rocket Per Customer, Please!” and “A Work, By Any Other Name…” The Best Series category already has a problem of a dwindling pool of eligible nominees, and these proposals will further restrict it and will also increase the burden on administrators.

    I do not have a strong view on “An Aristotelian Solution to Fan vs Pro”, or “If a Tree Falls in The Woods and Nobody Is Around…” – neither strikes me as solving a problem that desperately needs to be solved.

    Jason Sanford, however, does have strong views on the former.

  17. Although I’m a member of the committee, I don’t recall seeing of these proposals.

    I’m probably opposed to doing anything this year that will need to be ratified in China. There are far too many fans who cannot or will not attend next year’s Worldcon, and without an option for remote participation, I’m not sure what might happen at that business meeting. So unless there’s an urgent need to act RIGHT NOW, I think we’d be best served waiting until 2024.

  18. I have a concern with the wording of “An Aristotelian Solution to Fan vs Pro”. While the second elements of the two definitions seem OK, I don’t see how we can, as voters or nominators, know what the expectation of a creator or creators was when the work was being created. The only information we are privy to is how the work is ultimately released into the public domain. For example, if a painting was created to be a book cover, the publisher rejected it and the artist then released it for free it would, technically, be a pro work because of the intention. But, if the artist didn’t tell us that it would appear to be a fan work.

  19. So … if you are a Hugo voter and you believe that a category should exist, but that you also believe that you are not qualified to vote in that specific category, what is the appropriate course of action under WSFS 3.12.2? (and by extension under Gray’s proposal?)

    You have three options in this hypothetical situation:
    – you can choose to abstain from voting in that category, and risk having it no-awarded because of your lack of vote.
    – you can choose to vote randomly in that category, based on insufficient information, and end up supporting a finalist who you don’t actually care for.
    – you can choose to vote in no categories, even the categories in which you’ve read all the finalists and have a strong opinion.

    None of these are good options.

    Abolishing WSFS 3.12.2 allows voters to pick and choose the categories they want to vote in without penalizing them. And if they feel a “no award” is warranted, that’s still a good option. Full abolishment empowers Hugo voters.

    .

    And for what it’s worth, the above situation isn’t actually much of a hypothetical. It’s me, circa 2000 wondering whether or not to vote in the best editor, best fanzine, and best fan writer categories when I attended my first Worldcon.

  20. A member of the Hugo Awards Study Committee is stating they ‘support Olav Rokne’s “Zero Percent Solution” ahead of the HASC’s proposals on the same topic.’

    This is very unclear. Either the committee fully supports their own proposal, which does challenge ‘zero percent solution’ or they don’t.

    Was that a ‘majority support’?
    Or a decision before the ‘zero percent solution’ proposal was made public or a reaction to it?

    It’s appropriate to understand what that majority looks like and why it’s being put forward. What are the tallies?

    Some clarity would be appreciated, where are the minutes and vote counts to be found for this HASC committee?

  21. So, I’m on the HASC and originally proposed what became “A Work, by any other name”. I also wrote the report (as subcommittee chair) for Fan vs Pro.

    I categorically disagree that there is a lack of high quality nominees or likely to be so in the future. There are many, many excellent series, and only a handful of them have won Hugo Awards (and only a tiny handful of those have won Hugo Awards that wouldn’t already have won Hugo Awards for their component novels). But the problem that high qualiity series (yes, like Seanan’s) are squeezed out of the award by similarly-popular works that are already winning Hugos is a problem. We had a serious push to remove the award in December, and my impression that a significant portion of that was people who noticed, correctly, that more than half of the five awards given out so far have gone to series whose individual novels have already won awards.

    The case for “A Work” is very strong. We already make this rule for Best Dramatic Presentation — how are novels and short stories, really, any different?

    As Cora says above, the case for and against “One Rocket” is a bit more complicated–series like Murderbot where every single installment has won a Hugo gain nothing by getting the extra “crown” of Series, and the community is the lesser by not being able to give a strong work that can’t win for every installment an award just because the community really wants to give Martha or Lois another award (for example). But as written it is a bit draconian, and no, it probably doesn’t serve the community to disqualify a series just because, say, a short story from it won a Hugo 10 years ago.

    So I’d be interested in seeing a modification of that proposal that softened it while retaining its intent — say, something like:

    3.3.5: Best Series. A multi-installment science fiction or fantasy story,
    unified by elements such as plot, characters, setting, and presentation,
    appearing in at least three (3) installments consisting in total of at least
    240,000 words by the close of the previous calendar year, at least one (1)
    installment of which was published in the previous calendar year, and
    which has not previously won under 3.3.5. _Words appearing in works that previously won under Section 3.3.5 do not count towards this total, and no series may appear on the ballot in the same year as any of its installments.

    WRT Fan vs Pro, as has been said, the core focus of the change is really making sure that there is no hole into which a work can fall where it qualifies as neither fan nor pro. Of course “fan” is not identical to “amateur” and “pro” is not identical to “paid”, but as a compromise solution to satisfy multiple goals, it does aright. This version was very much a simplification of far more complicated proposals — but the intent is to look at the purpose of the work, not whether it is -ever- sold or money ever changes hand, thus language like “was undertaken with the expectation of sale”.

    The idea is that if you’re doing work and sharing it for the love of it, it’s fan. If you’re doing work to make a profit, it’s professional, even if you’re bad at it or unpopiular or whatever; this is “best fan Foo”, not “best unpopular Foo”.

    Ultimately, this can still be a judgement call — but by pushing that call out to the nominators and, by extent, the creators whom they are in dialogue with, we leave openings for people to go “hey, if you want to nominate my work, please nominate me as Best Professional Artist, not Best Fan Artist because this is actually my job” where now they can’t because they don’t qualify.

  22. James Bacon:

    A report issued by a committee is not necessarily personally supported by every single member of that committee. While there is such a thing as a “minority report” representing the opinions of a minority of the committee’s opinion, there is no such thing as a “majority report.” If a majority of a committee supports its report, then that it the “committee report.” Just because it’s the committee’s report does not mean that you can assume that every member of that committee was in favor of it.

  23. @James,

    I (and other Committee Members) entered minority reports on the Zero Per Cent Solution and the Best Series proposals. Those will, I am told, be published with the full Committee report. I do not know when that will be published.

    @Joshua,

    Only one person said at last year’s Business Meeting that the problem with Best Series is that “more than half of the five awards given out so far have gone to series whose individual novels have already won awards”, and that person was you. So please don’t claim a mandate from the Business Meeting for these proposals, which will further reduce the number of eligible series and will increase the burden on administrators, who will now be expected to override the wishes of voters and disqualify works even though they have received sufficient support from fans to get on the ballot.

  24. Artists who provide art for free, for fan activities be it to Fanzines, to Conventions or for Con publications, websites or the wonderful myriad of fan outlets are fan artists. They are carrying out a Fannish activity and should be cherished.

    The artists in question understand the covenant between fans, we appreciate their kindness and generosity and as fellow fans work in return, utilising that and their art, doing our best to celebrate and share it. It makes our publications exciting, makes our cons look good, enhances fan writing and adds brilliantly while being beautiful fanac.

    “Clearing Up the Artist Categories Forever (No, Really, We Swear It This Time!)”

    Works to further erode areas that we should be encouraging.

    Denying a post publication sale, effectively saying all fan art in the art show for sale is now no longer fan art in regards to the Hugos is mean spirited.

    Selling Fan Art to raise funds, especially in Fan Fund Auctions is a positive and fun fan activity that would categorise generous fan artists as professionals.

    If another fan wants to buy a piece of fan art – that’s awesome, what a boon, a bonus, further ego boo, but as it’s not a prerequisite to fan use, it’s quite unfair to exclude a fan for selling post or pre publication.

    Fans who provide cons and zines and blogs and websites and podcasts and every type of fanac with art for free are fan artists who should be appreciated, not excluded.

    How many fan artists and fan editors and fans striving to manage convention publications were consulted on this?

    It’s fanac at the point of use.
    It’s fan art.

  25. So good to see After Yang, Strawberry Mansion, Neptune Frost and Mad God SF films having extended Hugo eligibility. Looking at Hugo nominations over the years, you’d think that cinema worthy of ‘SF achievement’ was only produced by Hollywood, whereas in reality often it’s the independents and those from other countries that are the really good, cinematically, as well SFnally literate, productions.

    To that end may I recommend from Sci-Fi London film fest you check out Norway’s The Innocents. It uses a plot trope that has been used a number of times before as it centres around a group of children who, unknown to their parents have developed powers. That the special effects are used in a minimal way, adds to the suspense. IMDB score 7.0/10 from 8,700 ratings

  26. @Olav Rokne
    Totally concur that the filter – and I believe there does need to be a filter – should be at the nomination stage.

    @C M Barkley
    I too have long had concerns over Dramatic Presentation Short Form.

    @Nickpheas
    Agreed. Let’s not have someone shortlisted for ‘best novel’ and ‘best series’ the same year, but don’t bar someone who once won, say, a ‘best series’ one year from being short-listed for ‘best novel’ another.

    If I recall, the ‘Ancillary’ novels saw more than one win (though I think that was for ‘novel’ but the principle is the same).

    I am not sure that Iain Banks was ever Hugoed, but a number of his ‘Culture’ novels (IMHO) are worthy of short-listing for ‘Best Novel’ and the ‘Culture’ series as a whole worthy of ‘Best Series’ but should only be allowed to win ‘Best Series’ once. Spread the joy.

    And even if a series peaks after it has won ‘Best Series’ it still is a Hugo winning ‘Best Series’.

    @Peter Card
    There is a great difference between “none of these are worthy winners” and “I have no interest in / knowledge of this category”.
    I have never voted for best professional editor because I have no basis to form a judgement. Ticking “no award” would be more than harsh.

    An interesting point. However, there are many hundreds (if not thousands) of SF/F novels published a year. Ditto hundreds of films. I deal, over here in Brit Cit, with the major SF imprints on an almost daily basis and those that I do cover (according to the Bookseller’s Association) the majority of the British Isles market (as defined by BookScan). I confess, I am far, far less familiar with the editorial scene over in the US. However, on our side of the Pond while the number of Long Form editors worthy of an award for “SF excellence” is in double figures, I don’t believe it to be anywhere near treble figures. The number in North America on a purely population proportion basis (which may be generous) would be five or six times the number. Even so, together the pool is tiny compared to the number novels, films etc for which people might nominate.

    To my mind, not only many potential Hugo nominators are far less aware of those working behind the scenes, the pool of potential candidates is so small that one can’t help but wonder as to the value of this category.

    The pre-CoVID 2019 Hugo Stats show 112 Long Form nominated editors and Short Form 168. Whereas 538 novels were nominated. The latter’s arguably a reasonable pool whereas the former possibly isn’t?????

    I would far sooner we axed categories with both less Hugo voter interest and a pool from which to nominate works/people and instead have ones likely to have a greater Hugo voter interest and pool from which to nominate.

    ‘Best Fantasy Novel’ category anyone 😉

    @Perrianne Lurie
    I’m probably opposed to doing anything this year that will need to be ratified in China… I think we’d be best served waiting until 2024.

    So with you on this one.

  27. I find the arguments for further limiting Best Series eligibility to be extremely unconvincing. I’d call them good-hearted, but wrong-headed! I want the best series to win! And the fact that, e.g., Murderbot had already won a bunch of awards is evidence that it is the best series! Not evidence that it isn’t!

    Yes, it’s nice to spread the love around, and to some extent, I think the Hugo voters tend to do that organically, but it’s still the Best Series award, not the “Best Series With No Standout Installments” award, nor the “Best Series by Someone Who Doesn’t Have Other Good Series” award. So I think it should go to the best series! (Even though there’s a few series I love that would probably have a better chance of winning under the modified rules.)

  28. Pingback: Chicon 8 Posts Updated Business Meeting Agenda  | File 770

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