By John Hertz. Nominations are now open for a Down Under Fan Fund delegate from North America to the 51st Australia national science fiction convention Continuum VIII, Melbourne, June 8-11, 2012.
Founded in 1972, and supported by donations from s-f fans all over the world, DUFF sends a delegate from North America to Australia – New Zealand, or the other way, in alternating years.
Delegates are chosen as people whom fans on the visited side would like to meet. The delegate travels as much as possible, makes friends, radiates goodwill, and becomes the Administrator in turn on the home side until the next cycle. Delegates’ trip reports are sold to support the Fund.
I am the current NA Administrator. The ANZ Adminstrator is David Cake. Three NA nominators and two ANZ nominators are required for each westbound candidate. Candidates should submit a written platform of about 100 words and a donation of at least US$25.
Nominations will be accepted until midnight May 11 (Pacific Daylight Time). The ballot will be published as soon as possible thereafter with candidates, nominators, and platforms. Voting will probably close May 31.
Two suitable candidates have already emerged, one from the United States and one from Canada.
Send paper mail to me, John Hertz, 236 S. Coronado St., No. 409, Los Angeles, CA 90057, U.S.A.; call me if you wish at (213)384-6622. Checks in U.S. money should be payable to DUFF. Send E-mail, and PayPal donations, to Marty Cantor <martyhoohah (at) sbc (dot) global (dot) net>. Consult me about donations in Canada money other than by PayPal.
Dave Cake can be reached at <dave (at) difference (dot) com (dot) au>. Consult him about donations in Australia or New Zealand money other than by PayPal to Cantor.
This close schedule is regretted. The DUFF delegate may be unable to attend the 33rd New Zealand natcon unCONconventional 2012, Auckland, June 1-4. However, a reasonable amount of contact, merriment, and satisfaction should be possible.
Golly I think this is an outstandingly bad idea.
In ten days there isn’t enough time for any candidates who were not already prepared before the announcement to assemble nominations and a platform, which means that the race is biased against candidates that were not pre-alerted before nominations opened. This is deeply unfair and tarnishes the race even before it begins. It gives the appearance that the DUFF race is not truly open to all eligible fans. Running such a race stands a good chance of damaging DUFF’s reputation for fairness.
There is also too little time to realistically expect people to vote in, once the ballots are available (which, given the lateness of this announcement I am not optimistic will be a speedy process), which means, among other things, that the voting pool will be smaller than usual, and the associated pool of donations to the fund will be similarly smaller. One of the things a fan fund race is supposed to be for is raising funds for the fund, and *positively* raising the visibility of the fund. This will do neither.
And the amount of planning time left for the winner, if any, of this race to arrange a trip means that the tickets will be maximally expensive. in other words, it will cost the fund more money than it needs to, while raising less money than usual.
All this potential damage to the fund in aid of what? A trip to a convention that EVEN THE NOMINATIONS ANNOUNCEMENT acknowledges the winner may not be plausibly able to attend? Why announce a race to a convention the winner is unlikely to attend? A fan fund win is supposed to be an honor. Where’s the honor in all the frantic rushing around the candidates and winner would be forced into, when they likely can’t even go to the convention their aimed at?
If the DUFF winner cannot attend the intended convention why not defer the race so that a reasonable nominations, voting, and planning period can be allowed to the winner? There is no rule or moral obligation to hold races every year, or for a Natcon, or only once in a year. There are other, better ways to hold this race: choose another ANZAC convention to send the winner to, or make the race late this year for next year’s Australian Natcon. If the object is just to achieve “a reasonable amount of contact, merriment, and satisfaction” then there is absolutely no compelling reason to hold this race now, in this way.
I strongly urge the DUFF administrators to reconsider this present course of action as deeply unwise and potentially very damaging to the fund. I urge them to consider rescheduling the race to allow for a reasonable period of nominations, voting, and planning. If the administrators cannot or will not reschedule, then I strongly urge potential candidates to refrain from standing or withdraw their candidacies to defer the race de facto by cancelling this one. If the administrators and the candidates persist in this folly, then I strongly suggest that voters who care about the health of DUFF vote Hold Over Funds, without prejudice against any of the candidates, but for the greater good of the fund.
With the greatest respect to all involved, this is a ridiculous schedule and will certainly prevent many potential candidates from putting themselves forward. Better to delay the race until next year than run it at this breakneck pace.
@Steve: And yet fan funds rarely have multiple candidates come forward of their own accord. Most of the time the administrator is out knocking on doors and pleading for candidates. John says he has rounded up two who are prepared to work with this timeframe. He may well have ended up with the same number in any event.
He may well have ended up with the same number in any event. @Mike – possibly, but the appearance of bias is pretty unavoidable, doing it this way. The whole point of the nomination period is to find candidates. People who might have stood in this race and are only hearing about it today are SEVERELY DISADVANTAGED relative to the pre-identified candidates. Moreover, the schedule is POINTLESSLY rushed. The whole reason for holding a race now is allegedly to send someone to Continuum, yet even the nomination announcement acknowledges that we can’t expect a winner to make it there. In order to make it to Melbourne by June 8, the winner would have to depart June 6. Even if John’s communication problems with Dave are magically avoided for ballot counting, given the need to validate late-arriving ballots, and the time difference, it’s not plausible to suggest that a winner would be announced before June 2. That’s FOUR DAYS to plan and ticket a trip to AUSTRALIA, and oh yeah, somehow get the travel funds from John to pay for the travel. IT’S COMPLETELY INSANE is what it is. This schedule is disrespectful of potential candidates, the electorate, the hosts, and the hosting convention, and especially the winner. It’s too late to do this now.
I agree that the timetable is probably unworkable. But I think Ulrika has misread the note in the announcement that the winner may be unable to attend the New Zealand Natcon. Looks to me like you thought this note referred to Continuum. I think that John means the DUFF winner may not be able to attend a convention happening a week before the con he or she would be intended to attend.
Seems to me that anyone standing for this race will have to be willing to make plane reservations well before close of voting. Aside from the cost to book at the last minute, I would expect a risk of not getting a seat at all, if one waited until June 1 or 2 after voting results are in.
You’re right, I did misread the caveat being about the New Zealand Natcon, because the level of understatement required to suggest that the winner of the race “may” not be able to attend a convention that begins, on the other side of the globe, just about the time that balloting closes on the US West Coast, is so transcendentally arid as to surpass John Hertz even at his dryest. It is flat impossible for the winner of such a race to attend unCONventional unless they have already flown to New Zealand before the winner is announced.
“It is flat impossible for the winner of such a race to attend unCONventional unless they have already flown to New Zealand before the winner is announced.”
It wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest if this is what actually transpires.
It can take only one fuggheaded Theft from your Suitcase Association (TSA) screener to make sure you miss your flight. This scheduling makes no allowance for bureaucratic meddling which could ruin the entire trip. Rather than rush breathlessly through everything and hope that the scheduling is perfect, why not just hold off the winner’s travel until next year’s NatCon. It wouldn’t be the first time a DUFF trip had to skip a year, and that leaves much more time for long-term, less expensive airline reservations and fund-raising.
I haven’t read any explanation, yet, on why the the opening for nominations had occurred just now instead of months ago.
Rich Lynch: “I haven’t read any explanation, yet, on why the the opening for nominations had occurred just now instead of months ago.” Neither have I, and nominations close (as I write) *tomorrow*. As others have said, this is a completely ridiculous schedule that does no credit to DUFF or its US administrator. One of the candidates, Murray Moore, has it right in announcing on various fannish lists that if the contest actually goes forward he will vote for “Holdover Funds” and urges everyone else to do the same. That would keep John Hertz in the administrator’s chair and we can hope that he’ll announce the next race in a more timely fashion.
Now that nominations are closed, where’s the ballot!?
I support voting Holdover Funds, as do many others, if this “race” is actually going to happen.