Business Meeting

WSFS Business Meeting

Palais des Congres Room 518BC, Fri/Sat/Sun 10:00

Have you ever said, “There ought to be a Hugo Award for …” or thought that the Worldcon rules about how sites are selected ought to be different? If you’ve ever wondered why “they” don’t do something about it, the answer is that there is no “they;” there is only “we,” and you are one of the people who can make a difference by participating in the direct democracy of the World Science Fiction Society (WSFS).

Every member of Anticipation is a member of WSFS. In fact, joining the current Worldcon is the ony way you can become a member of WSFS. The official rules of WSFS are in the WSFS Constitution and Standing Rules (published in Progress Report 3 and available online at http://www.wsfs.org/bm/rules.html). They govern the Hugo Awards, the selection of future Worldcon sites, and the internal affairs of WSFS. You don’t elect representatives or authorize proxies or elect members of a Board of Directors; you represent yourself in person if you want to participate and vote. WSFS does its business at a series of Business Meetings at every Worldcon. Every attending member of Anticipation may attend the Business Meeting, propose changes to the WSFS rules, and debate and vote upon those changes.

This year, the Business Meetings will be on Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and (if required) Monday mornings of the convention, at 10 AM, in room 518BC of the Palais des Congress. Site Selection results will be announced at the Sunday meeting. A Monday “overflow” session is highly unlikely, but will be held if we are unable to deal with all business by the end of the Sunday meeting.

Proposed Agenda

The proposed agenda for the Business Meeting was printed in PR 4. An updated agenda is available.

We have received the following reports from Worldcons, NASFiCs, and other WSFS committees in advance:

Worldcon and NASFiC Financial Reports

Committee Reports

Changes to the WSFS Constitution must be adopted at two consecutive Worldcons’ Business Meetings to assure that they have wide support, so any new changes proposed this year will be passed on to Aussiecon Four for ratification.

Business Passed On

Last year’s Worldcon in Denver adopted four proposed constitutional changes that will be up for ratification this year. The first, formally recognizing the work of Peter Weston in designing the current shape of the Hugo Award trophy rocket, is not considered controversial.

Semiprozine Hugo

The second pending proposal has generated a lot of discussion since its first passage, and may have a spirited debate. This proposal would eliminate the existing Best Semiprozine Hugo Award, and would further modify the definition of Best Fanzine so that works that were previously eligible as semiprozines would not be eligible as fanzines. Should this proposal be ratified, there will not longer be a Best Semiprozine Hugo Award.

Making the Web Eligible

Somewhat overshadowed by the Semiprozine Hugo discussion is a third proposal that would expand the definition of three Hugo Award categories in ways that made it clear that work done through electronic media such as on web sites is eligible for a Hugo Award.

Best Graphic Story

Finally, the fourth proposal pending ratification is something with which anyone who cast a Hugo Award ballot this year should be familiar: Best Graphic Story. Anticipation used its authority to create a special one-shot Hugo Award category for Best Graphic Story, using the same definition as the category proposed last year in Denver. If the Business Meeting votes to ratify this change, Best Graphic Story will become a permanent Hugo Award Category.

All four of these proposals should come up for debate and vote at the first Main Business Meeting on Saturday morning, although the Friday meeting will determine procedural issues such as the debate time limit for the ratification debate. It is not possible to predict a specific time when a particular proposal will come up for debate, due to the variable-length nature of such debates.

New Constitutional Amendments

As of the pre-convention deadline for submitting new business, we have received one proposal, which would require Worldcons and NASFiCs to offer reduced-price memberships to persons 25 and younger, with increasing discounts the younger the person. This proposal will first come up for technical scrutiny at the Preliminary Meeting on Friday, and if it survives that process, will be debated and voted on late on Saturday.

Submitting New Business

Besides voting on ratification of proposals passed on from last year, members of Anticipation may propose new business. Any two members of Anticipation may propose changes to the WSFS Constitution or Standing Rules. The deadline for submitting new business is 4 PM on Thursday, August 6 or two hours after the beginning of the Opening Ceremonies, whichever is later.

The deadline for submitting new business in advance of the convention has now passed. If you want to submit new business at the convention, deliver 200 identical copies (including an original signed by at least two members of Anticipation) to the Business Meeting, either in person to the Chairman or Secretary or through the Convention Office. Expect an announcement in an early issue of the at-convention newsletter for details of where to submit new business.

Preliminary Business Meeting

New business will first come up on the agenda at the Preliminary Business Meeting on Friday morning. Although the Preliminary Meeting cannot pass any new business, it can amend proposals and set debate time limits on them, and any new proposal, when it first comes before the meeting, is subject to “Objection to Consideration,” by which it can be killed by a 2/3 vote without debate. If you are submitting new business, you should attend the Preliminary Meeting to deal with technical questions about it. It is common for the Preliminary Meeting to create ad hoc committees to deal with technical details of new proposals, with such committees meeting immediately after the Preliminary Meeting. The Preliminary Meeting also is where Worldcon committees usually submit their required financial reports. Various WSFS special and standing committees also submit their reports to WSFS here, including the Mark Protection Committee, the only permanent standing body of WSFS. Nominations for membership to the Mark Protection Committee are open during the Preliminary Meeting, with the actual election of members to be held during the first Main Meeting on Saturday.

In addition to the above, two resolutions have been submitted to the Preliminary Business Meeting in advance of the convention. The first would extend the Hugo Award eligibility of a specific work, and the second would urge future Worldcons to make greater efforts to publicize Worldcons at conventions such as Dragon*Con and Comic-Con International San Diego.

Main Business Meetings

The meetings on Saturday and Sunday are where the main debate and votes on proposed WSFS Constitutional amendments happen. Elections to the Mark Protection Committee will be on Saturday. The Site Selection Administrator will announce the official results of the 2011 Worldcon and 2010 NASFiC elections at the start of the Sunday meeting, after which the newly-seated conventions will give their initial presentations, followed by a period of Question Time for representatives of the 2010 Worldcon and any bidders for the 2012 Worldcon. If time allows, bidders for subsequent years’ Worldcons may also give short presentations.

Recording of Sessions

All sessions of the WSFS Business Meeting will be video-recorded. Such recordings may be posted to public video-sharing web sites such as Google Video or YouTube. Members can expect their voice and image to be recorded and distributed if they attend the meeting. Besides the official recordings being arranged by the Business Meeting staff, any other member may make recordings, subject to the restrictions of WSFS Standing Rule 1.6.

Mark Protection Committee

The WSFS Mark Protection Committee manages the service marks of WSFS (Hugo Award, Worldcon, etc.) and the WSFS and Hugo Award web sites. This committee will meet on Thursday evening (18:00, Room P-518A). Note: This meeting was omitted from the printed Anticipation schedule. The committee will meet for a second time after the final Main Meeting, probably around Noon on Sunday in P-581BC, but if there is insufficient time, it will meet on Monday at 10:00 in P-581BC.

The MPC consists of nine elected members (three people elected annually for three-year terms) and additional members appointed by the current, future, and immediately past Worldcon and NASFiC committees. Membership is open to anyone who wants to participate, subject to certain residency requirements intended to assure even distribution of membership. Nominations for the MPC will be at the Preliminary Business Meeting, with elections scheduled for the first Main Business Meeting.