While sensible fans were enjoying the con their dedicated peers at Loncon 3’s business meeting slaved over proposed changes to the rules of the World Science Fiction Society. (Kevin Standlee has done little else and many of these items are cribbed from his myriad social media outlets. It’s even possible to watch videos of the business meetings on Kevin’s YouTube account.)
All seven amendments to the WSFS Constitution passed for the first time last year were ratified. These include:
- Two parallel changes lowering the requirement for certain votes to a 2/3 majority (from 3/4);
- Requiring more detailed self-indentification data in the financial reports of past Worldcons;
- Defining eligibility of a person for Best Fan Artist Hugo to include non-professional display of their work (instead of a display, generally);
- Removing the geographic zone requirements for membership in the Mark Protection Committee;
- Making permanent the Hugo Award Rest of World Eligibility Extension.
Four new amendments got a split reception.
The business meeting voted against proposals to:
- Give NASFiC members the right to vote for the Hugos, and
- Add a new Hugo for Best Fan Performer/Performance (a slash mark because people voted to change the title prior to voting to reject the idea altogether.)
Earning first passage were two other proposals.
- Popular Ratification requires that changes to the WSFS constitution be ratified by a vote of all Worldcon members. The mass vote would take place after an amendment receives its second passage at a business meeting.
- A Story by Any Other Name clarifies the of status of audiobooks under the Hugo rules.
Two Standing Rules changes proposed by the Worldcon’s own committees also passed. (These are not constitutional amendments.)
- Hugo Finalists: A proposal to change the term for works/people appearing on the Hugo Shortlist to “Finalist” (instead of “Nominee”).
- Value The Vote: A change to the Membership Types and Rates would keep committees from selling memberships with WSFS voting rights for less than their supporting membership rate, tied in to what the Voting Fee was when they were selected.
There was no proposal for a YA Hugo – a hot topic referred by last year’s business meeting to a committee chaired by Dave McCarty. McCarty reported no progress was made (his and other members’ comments on the WSFS Business Meeting Facebook Page indicate no work was done during the year.) Chris Barkley, who had made plans to submit a proposal of his own once again, said he has been persuaded waiting for a committee report is a better idea.
[Thanks again to Kevin Standlee for his yeoman work sharing the results with the world.]
Update 08/17/2014: Identified Standing Rules changes more clearly.
A small correction:
The ammendment defeated would have allowed NASFiC members to nominate but not to vote for the Hugos.
‘Give NASFiC members the right to vote for the Hugos’ was about giving a free supporting membership to NASFiC members. So people who went to NASFiC but not Worldcon would have gained the same voting rights as someone who had a supporting membership for that year’s Worldcon.
AKA US Fandom trying to stack the decks even further in its own favour.
I was against the motion, and if I had been able to get to the business meeting, I planned to introduce an amendment giving the same rights to members of all other national or continental conventions, e.g. Eurocon, the Japanese national con, etc.
But Jonathan M has seriously mistaken the details of the amendment. It would not have given any voting rights to anyone; ias Geoff Thorpe says, it would have allowed NASFiC members to NOMINATE for the Hugos, a right already held by many people who are not members of the current Worldcon, if they have memberships in the previous or following Worldcons. One of the arguments given against the motion, at the business meeting, pointed out that in order to continuously be able to nominate, one only needs to join every 3rd Worldcon, and if someone isn’t interested enough in WSFS to do that, then they probably shouldn’t get nominating rights. This is paraphrased from a description told to me by someone who had been at the meeting.
The two things you identify as Standing Rule changes (Hugo Finalists and Value the Vote) are indeed Constitutional amendments and will have to be re-ratified next year.
There were a pair of Standing Rule changes: the required vote for Objection to Consideration was increased from 2/3 to 3/4, and in tandem with that, the motion Postpone Indefinitely (which kills a targeted proposal for the duration of that Worldcon; “indefinitely” means “until Worldcon is over” in this case, not “forever”), previously banned, is now in order at the Preliminary Business Meeting and allows 4 minutes debate: two minutes about why we shouldn’t be spending the Main Meeting’s time, and two justifying the actual consideration of the proposal. The expectation is that OTC (which is a powerful motion that lands on newcomers like a 16-ton parliamentary weight) will be restricted to really odious proposals, not just unpopular ones, while we can spend a few minutes debating the consideration of new business, allowing motions’ sponsors one brief opportunity to speak rather than silencing them before they even got to make their opening statements.
The Standing Rule changes took effect immediately on account of a 2/3 vote to suspend the rules to allow immediate effect; however, inasmuch as there were no more new items of business on the agenda by the time we got to standing rule changes, the fact that the new rules were in place was moot. It will first have a practical effect next year when it could be used to kill new proposals at the Preliminary Business Meeting.
Thanks — I was too brain dead over the weekend to fix this properly. The change I made just added two more mistakes…. Will get this corrected soon.