WSFS Business – The Main Event

Today’s WSFS Business Meeting ended up being a fairly quiet event, as far as I can see from Twitter and from Rachel Acks’ live blog. That’s because a lot of the controversial business was dealt with yesterday. Here are some highlights.

The motion to make electronic publications opt-out rather than opt-in and will go to London for ratification. This is good, because it will help keep the price of Supporting Memberships down.

The various motions about whether you can have one set of WSFS voting rights without another were debated, but were eventually referred to a committee to try to sort out some sensible language. That should be interesting, because the people who are strongly against splitting up rights tend to also be the people who are strongly against the concept of WSFS membership (as opposed to membership of individual Worldcons). I may have to write about that in more detail later. Anyway, the good thing is, as Tero noted on Twitter, that the knee-jerk idea that we must take action in a hurry just in case something bad happens has been voted down.

The WSFS Accountability Act, which seeks to improve accountability for Worldcon surpluses, has been passed with much simplified language and goes to London for ratification.

The Fan Artist motion was passed, but that’s misleading because it was amended so heavily in the process that it does none of the things that the original proposers really wanted. As I suspected, people complained about having to compare apples to oranges. There were also suggestions that some of the activities that were to be included are already covered by other categories. All that we have left are clarifications that art displayed at conventions does qualify (even though that’s not really “public”), and that the art must be non-professional (whatever that means). I suspect this may end up being known as the anti-Randall Munroe amendment.

The amendments to change the voting requirements for eligibility extensions from a 3/4 majority to a 2/3 majority passed fairly easily, mainly because every other requirement for a super-majority is the Constitution is set at 2/3. Vincent Docherty’s suggestion to make the main Eligibility Extension for non-US publications permanent was much more hotly debated. As I said yesterday, I would be happy to keep making the case for it each year but, despite opposition from many of the big guns in US SMOFdom, Vincent won the debate by 49-32, so that also goes forward to London for ratification.

At the end of the meeting a new piece of business was introduced. This would remove the regional restrictions on membership of the Mark Protection Committee. I am somewhat suspicious about this. The MPC is the only permanent committee that WSFS has that has any power. It was, if you remember, the committee that had me flung off the Hugo Award Marketing Committee (the HAMC is subservient to the MPC). I have a sneaking suspicion that certain people are trying to change the rules of elections to the MPC so that it will be easier to take it over. Of course I could be wrong. I shall see what Kevin has to say. In any case, it too will be up for ratification in London, so if it is a problem it can be dealt with then.

All in all it was a pretty good day. Well done fandom.

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7 Responses to WSFS Business – The Main Event

  1. Rachael Acks says:

    Question: A lot of my Colorado friends and I were wondering what was up with the desire to expand the fan artist category, since we figured there was a particular angle it had to be coming from. Everyone thought it would become clear in the debate, but honestly I didn’t find the debate all that helpful (don’t know if that came through on my liveblog) as far as a clear articulation of why it was necessary to expand the category and who (as a class) they were hoping specifically to include that was being excluded. Do you know more about this?

    (I ended up feeling very ambivalent and did not actually vote when it came to the language change because I did feel so ambivalent.)

    • Cheryl says:

      I think there are multiple things going on.

      Firstly Fan Artist is the least popular category in the Hugos, in terms of interest by voters. Fewer people nominate in it, and fewer people vote in it, than in any other category. Anything that would spice it up should be welcome.

      Secondly there have been various attempts to get recognition for music, specifically filk, and to a lesser extent costuming. The Fancast category is much more tightly defined than Dramatic Presentation, mainly because its sole purpose was to get podcasts out of Best Fanzine. But Fancast does at least get a lot of interest.

      And finally there is the bit that got left in, the requirement that the work being honored must be non-professional. There has been a feeling that people have been getting honored for work that they make a living from.

      Given all of these almost parallel interests, I’m not surprised that the debate was confusing.

      While I am here, thank you so much for the excellent coverage.

      • Rachael Acks says:

        You’re welcome! Thanks for the response, it fits make things make a bit more sense with the fan artist thing.

        I was actually talking with Skiffy and Fanty of the podcast about the wsfs meeting and mentioned your comment as a point of clarification and cited you by name. Please let me know if you’d rather i hadn’t and I’ll ask them to not use that audio bit if at all possible. I just realized in retrospect i ought to have asked first.

  2. linda deneroff says:

    I think you are overkly suspicious about the MPC vote. Since there are no longer any zones for site selection and since we nearly didn’t have someone from the central zone to elect, we felt the time had come to eliminate the zone requirement. I don’t think we’ll ever have all members from a single former zone.

    • Cheryl says:

      Do you still think that after what happened at the MPC meeting?

      I suspect that if Kevin had been removed as chair of the MPC the first thing that would have happened is that I would have been thrown off the HAMC again.

  3. Rachael Acks says:

    Woah, what happened? I didn’t stay for the mpc meeting.

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