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Worldcon Political Thought - RonO's Ramblings

Feb. 8th, 2009 09:56 am Worldcon Political Thought

With the folding of the Seattle 2011 Worldcon bid, I have seen the inevitable discussion as to whether this would have happened had two business meetings not decided to go to a two year advance selection from a three year advance selection for the site. In this discussion, I fear lost in the heat and noise, has been the point that there has only been one Worldcon held that was selected two years in advance in the last 20+mumble years, and two more seated.

This has me wondering -- and as I'm very new to the inner political workings involved, having only actually made it business meetings at Denvention -- if it might not be a good idea to add wording to the appropriate article of the WSFS constitution (or the standing rules, if that would be the correct place) stating that no changes to the sight selection time can be made until at least 5, or some other good number, Worldcons have been held at the given site selection time. This would give the change some time to be considered and the impacts really observed. As it stands now we run the risk of trying to tweak this every few years when some bid runs into trouble that someone, probably unrelated to the bid, perceives as being caused by the last change.

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Comments:

From:kevin_standlee
Date:February 8th, 2009 08:29 pm (UTC)
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There would be no point in such a prohibition, because, being part of the constitution, it could be amended just as much as any other part of it. Someone with an axe to grind could simply include the "no changes allowed" language as stuff to strike out in the same amendment as something affecting the lead time.

The alternative approach is what's been happening with the Hugo Awards, with changes including either "must re-ratify X years after initial ratification, or change automatically sunsets" or "an amendment to repeal this change can happen in a single year after X years" -- the latter is covering the Best Editor split, while the former is part of the proposed Best Graphic Story category.

In fact, I suspect that few of the people saying "It's a Proven Fact that Three Years is Better than Two" actually have the moxie to carry that change to the floor of the Business Meeting. So indeed, this is all heat and little light. What you have to depend upon here is the restraint of the members as a whole (not individual hot-heads) and the general conservatism of the meeting. Changes are hard, and the system is designed to slow down changes. I expect there are a whole lot of "regulars" who will be extra-reluctant to vote for any new proposals this year simply because the ratification vote is in Australia where they will not be able to go, and they don't trust anyone but themselves.
From:rono_60103
Date:February 8th, 2009 09:23 pm (UTC)
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Honestly, that is kind of what I've thought -- and exactly what I thought about putting the limit in the same place where the changes go.

I certainly hope, and have reason to expect, that calmer heads will prevail. I don't want this to turn into something that people try to tweak constantly resulting in serious instability.
From:kevin_standlee
Date:February 8th, 2009 09:40 pm (UTC)
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As it is, there is sort of a mechanism for imposing what might be seen as a "gag rule," which is to procedural prohibit the introduction of motions on certain subjects. That would therefore require any proposal on those subjects to jump two hurdles, the first of which is to remove the procedural ban.

For example -- and this has been seriously considered -- you could add a prohibition to the constitution that says, "No amendment that would have the effect of increasing the total number of Hugo Awards shall be in order." That would utterly prohibit such amendments. Alternatively, you could make is a standing rule, where it could be suspended by 2/3 vote.

Adding such a "gag rule" on changes to site selection lead time is trickier, but could be done.