The Circus is Back in Town

Worldcon is happening in San José, and that means that the WSFS Business Meeting is back in session. The admirable Alex Acks has been reporting as usual. Here’s what went down during the Preliminary Meeting.

Understanding all of that probably needs reference to the Agenda, but for those of you whose eyes glazed over after the first paragraph or two I will attempt to summarise the key points.

Consitutional Amendments can’t be debated during the Prelminary Meeting, but changes to the Standing Rules can. This year there was particular concern that people needed to be given more notice about issues likely to be brought up. Also the Business Meeting staff need more time to get the increasingly full agenda written up and printed.

Consequently motions A1 and A2 were passed. A1 requires amendments to Constitutional Amendments to be submitted in advance, while A2 makes the deadline for submitting business 30 days rather than 14. Both of these rules can be suspended in the case of an emergency.

The rest of the meeting was devoted to setting time limits for debate tomorrow, but the Preliminary Meeting can also kill off motions entirely, which is why it is important to be there.

Motion D3, which is all about providing guidance to Hugo Administrators as to how they count nominations in Graphic Story, was “Postponed Indefinitely”, which essentially means it was killed off. There is a problem as to how nominations for comics are counted, in that some people may nominate an individual issue, whereas others may nominate the entire series. However, it was the sense of the Meeting that the proposals to fix this were poorly thought-out and should not be debated this year.

A similar fate befell motion D4 which was about redefining the Fancast category in the Hugos. This was expected, because the people who propsed the motion clearly had no idea how the word “podcast” is commonly understood.

I don’t think that many people will be upset at these two motions not being considered.

That does still leave several Constitutional Amendments to be debated tomorrow. The most interesting is D1, which opens the door to remote participation in the Business Meeting. It does not require it, but it does remove language which would prohibit it. If it can be made to work, this would be a very interesting innovation.

Motion D2 is an uncontentious fix proposed by the ever-watchful Nit-Picking & Fly-Specking Committee, whose job it is to clean up any typoes and bugs that creep into the Constitution.

D5 is all about redefining the distinction between Professional and Fan Artists. That may get contentious, but there are no easy answers here.

D6 is to change the Graphic Story Hugo category to “Graphic Story or Comic”, because apparently some people think that comics are not graphic stories.

D7 fixes an issue with the number of people listed in the runners-up listings for the Hugos. A side effect of the new counting system brought in to foil the Puppies was to reduce the number of people listed. This motion would fix that.