Business Passed on

World Science Fiction Society

Business Passed on to MidAmeriCon II

The following item was passed at Chicago in 2012 and must be re-ratified by MidAmeriCon II in 2016 in order to remain part of the Worldcon Constitution.

A.1 Short Title: Best Fancast

3.3.14: Best Fancast. Any generally available non-professional audio or video periodical devoted to science fiction, fantasy, or related subjects that by the close of the previous calendar year has released four (4) or more episodes, at least one (1) of which appeared in the previous calendar year, and that does not qualify as a dramatic presentation.

Provided that unless this amendment is re-ratified by the 2016 Business Meeting, Section 3.3.14 shall be repealed, and

Provided that the question of re-ratification shall be automatically be placed on the agenda of the 2016 Business Meeting with any constitutional amendments awaiting ratification.

The following items were passed at Sasquan in 2015 and must be ratified by MidAmeriCon II in 2016 in order to become part of the Worldcon Constitution.

A.2 Short Title: The Five Percent Solution

Moved, to amend the WSFS Constitution to eliminate the requirement that finalists must appear on at least 5% of ballots in a category, by striking out words as follows:

3.8.5: No nominee shall appear on the final Award ballot if it received fewer nominations than five percent (5%) of the number of ballots listing one or more nominations in that category, except that the first three eligible nominees, including any ties, shall always be listed.

3.11.4: The complete numerical vote totals, including all preliminary tallies for first, second, … places, shall be made public by the Worldcon Committee within ninety (90) days after the Worldcon. During the same period the nomination voting totals shall also be published, including in each category the vote counts for at least the fifteen highest vote-getters and any other candidate receiving a number of votes equal to at least five percent (5%) of the nomination ballots cast in that category, but not including any candidate receiving fewer than five votes.

Proposed by: Chris Gerrib, Catherine Faber and Steven desJardins

Commentary: The past few years have seen short fiction final ballots consisting of less than five nominations. This deprives members of the option of voting on a full slate. By removing the 5% rule, we ensure that a full slate is presented in every category.

A.3 Short Title: Multiple Nominations

Moved, to amend the WSFS Constitution to eliminate the possibility of a work simultaneously appearing on the final ballot in multiple categories by adding words as follows:

1: Insert the following section after existing Section 3.2.8:

3.2.X: No work shall appear in more than one category on the final Award ballot.

2: Insert the following section after existing Section 3.8.6:

3.8.Y: If a work is eligible in more than one category, and if the work receives sufficient nominations to appear in more than one category, the Worldcon Committee shall determine in which category the work shall appear, based on the category in which it receives the most nominations.

Proposed by: Warren Buff, Jared Dashoff, William Lawhorn, Michael Lee, Pablo Vasquez

Commentary: The goal of this amendment is to ensure that no work appears on the final ballot in multiple categories. This means that a novel could not appear on the same ballot as a series of which it is a part. Additionally, if a YA category were to be added, a novel could not appear in both the YA and Best Novel categories. It would be the duty of the Worldcon Committee, via the Hugo Administrator and staff, in consultation with the author/creator, as possible, to determine in which category the work would appear.

A.4 Short Title: Nominee Diversity

Moved, to amend the WSFS Constitution for the purpose of encouraging diversity of Hugo Award nominations by excluding more than two works within a category that are part of the same dramatic series or having a common coauthor by inserting a new subsection after existing 3.8.4, adding words as follows:

3.8.X: If there are more than two works in the same category that are all episodes of the same dramatic presentation series or that are written works that have an author for single-author works, or two or more authors for coauthored works in common, only the two works in each category that have the most nominations shall be eligible to appear on the final ballot. For the purposes of this exclusion, works withdrawn by their author or authors under Section 3.2.5 shall be ignored.

Proposed by: Donald E. Eastlake 3rd and Jill Eastlake

Commentary: The intent of this amendment to the WSFS Constitution is to increase the diversity of nominations appearing on the final Hugo Award ballot.

With only five nomination slots, an author or dramatic series nominated thrice or more in a Hugo category in one year is occupying 60% or more of those slots and squeezing the rest of the field down to only two or fewer. Even if the number of slots were increased to six, they would be occupying at least half of them. Situations with such three or more works in the same category have become more common recently. Based on a quick scan, it appears this has occurred a total of ten times. But eight of these have been in the last 10 years, while there were only two in the previous 50+ years of the Hugo Award. (Nine of these ten were triples and one was a quintuplet. Eight were of dramatic series episodes and two were for written works.)

Two such works or episodes appearing on the ballot seems less problematic; such doubles have occurred more frequently (28 instances), have occurred in many different categories, and have occurred in years more uniformly spread over the history of the Hugo Award.

This amendment, to the extent possible to achieve the desired effect, strives for simplicity and tries to impose the minimum details on the Hugo administrators. It leaves questions such as who is an author of a written work or whether or not episodes are part of the same dramatic series to the discretion of those administrators.

The restrictions in this amendment apply in a different way to dramatic-presentation works and written works. In the dramatic presentation categories, no more than two works (generally episodes) of the same series would be eligible in the category. In each written category, no more than two works with the same author or co-authors would be eligible in that category. The following examples illustrate this:

Example 1: If three episodes of the television series Science Fiction Trek and one episode of the television series Fantasy Wars would otherwise qualify for the final ballot, the episode of Science Fiction Trek with the least nominations would be excluded. The final ballot would be the two episodes with the most nominations, plus three other works not part of that series, including the Fantasy Wars episode, even if, for example, all four episodes had the same Director or the like and even if all three episodes of Science Fiction Trek had different Directors or the like.

Example 2: Imagine that two novels authored by John Doe, a third novel co-authored by John Doe and Jane Roe, and a short story authored by John Doe would all otherwise qualify for the final ballot. Since all three novels have an author in common, only the two with the most nominations would qualify for the final ballot, with three other novels not having John Doe as an author or co-author filling out the other positions; this would exclude the novel with Jane Roe as a co-author if it had the fewest nominations. Since short story is a different Hugo category, this situation in the novel category would have no effect on the nomination of John Doe’s short story.

A.5 Short Title: Electronic Signatures

This proposal and an amendment to it were referred to a committee to report back at the Business Meeting at Sasquan, where the amended text was passed and forwarded on to MidAmeriCon II.

Moved, to amend Section 4.4 of the WSFS Constitution to authorize Worldcons to accept ballots with any form of signature or authentication legal in the jurisdiction of the administering Worldcon, by adding words as follows:

4.4.X Worldcons may, with the agreement of all active bids, choose to offer any electronic signature means legal in the seated Worldcon’s home jurisdiction.

4.4.Y Worldcons must offer the option to receive a paper site selection ballot regardless of that member’s selection for other publications. Should they choose to include other material (such as an addressed envelope and stamp or International Reply Coupon), they may charge a reasonable fee for such materials.

Proposed by: Terry Neill, Janet D’Agostino-Neill

Commentary: This amendment is meant to clarify requirements and simplify submitting legal signatures, whenever the current Worldcon Committee and all the current bidders agree to electronic submission of Site Selection ballots. This year the directive was to print the ballot, sign it, scan it, then email it to Site Selection. There are many forms of legally binding electronic signatures that were not allowed. This amendment will allow any form of electronic signature legal in the jurisdiction of the seated Worldcon.

A.6 Short Title: 4 and 6

Moved, to amend the WSFS Constitution to reduce the number of nominations each member can make in each category, to increase the number of finalists appearing on the final ballot and to correct related references to the number of nominations per member by striking out and adding words as follows:

3.7.1: The Worldcon Committee shall conduct a poll to select the nominees for the final Award voting. Each member of the administering Worldcon, the immediately preceding Worldcon, or the immediately following Worldcon as of January 31 of the current calendar year shall be allowed to make up to five (5) four (4) equally weighted nominations in every category.

3.8.1: Except as provided below, the final Award ballots shall list in each category the five six eligible nominees receiving the most nominations. If there is a tie including fifth sixth place, all the tied eligible nominees shall be listed.

3.8.6: The Committee shall move a nomination from another category to the work’s default category only if the member has made fewer than five (5) four (4) nominations in the default category.

3.8.7: If a work receives a nomination in its default category, and if the Committee relocates the work under its authority under subsection 3.2.9 or 3.2.10, the Committee shall count the nomination even if the member already has made five (5) four (4) nominations in the more-appropriate category.

Proposed by: Chris Gerrib, Catherine Faber and Steven desJardins

Commentary: The goal of this amendment is to provide a broader base of potential winners and to increase participation in the nominating process. It accomplishes these goals by increasing the number of finalists from five to six. By reducing the number of nominees per member to four, we make it clear that members do not have to submit a full nominating ballot, encouraging participation in less popular categories. For more popular categories, limiting the number of nominees encourages the member to prioritize their selections. Finally, because of the 4-nominee limit, we are more likely to see a broader selection of works.

A.7 Short Title: E Pluribus Hugo (Out of the Many, a Hugo)

Moved, to amend Section 3.8 (Tallying of Nominations), Section 3.9 (Notification and Acceptance), and Section 3.11 (Tallying of Votes) as follows:

Section 3.8: Tallying of Nominations.

3.8.1: Except as provided below, the final Award ballots shall list in each category the five eligible nominees receiving the most nominations. If there is a tie including fifth place, all the tied eligible nominees shall be listed. determined by the process described in section 3.A.

Insert new section 3.A after Section 3.8 as follows:

Section 3.A: Finalist Selection Process

3.A.1: For each category, the finalist selection process shall be conducted as elimination rounds consisting of three phases:

(1) Calculation Phase: First, the total number of nominations (the number of ballots on which each nominee appears) from all eligible ballots shall be tallied for each remaining nominee. Next, a single “point” shall be assigned to each nomination ballot. That point shall be divided equally among all remaining nominees on that ballot. Finally, all points from all nomination ballots shall be totaled for each nominee in that category. These two numbers, point total and number of nominations, shall be used in the Selection and Elimination Phases.

(2) Selection Phase: The two nominees with the lowest point totals shall be selected for comparison in the Elimination Phase. (See 3.A.3 for ties.)

(3) Elimination Phase: Nominees chosen in the Selection Phase shall be compared, and the nominee with the fewest number of nominations shall be eliminated and removed from all ballots for the Calculation Phase of all subsequent rounds. (See 3.A.3 for ties.)

3.A.2: The phases described in 3.A.1 are repeated in order for each category until the number of finalists specified in 3.8.1 remain. If elimination would reduce the number of finalists to fewer than the number specified in section 3.8.1, then instead no nominees will be eliminated during that round, and all remaining nominees shall appear on the final ballot, extending it if necessary.

3.A.3: Ties shall be handled as described below:

(1) During the Selection Phase, if two or more nominees are tied for the lowest point total, all such nominees shall be selected for the Elimination Phase.

(2) During the Selection Phase, if one nominee has the lowest point total and two or more nominees are tied for the second-lowest point total, then all such nominees shall be selected for the Elimination Phase.

(3) During the Elimination Phase, if two or more nominees are tied for the fewest number of nominations, the nominee with the lowest point total at that round shall be eliminated.

(4) During the Elimination Phase, if two or more nominees are tied for both fewest number of nominations and lowest point total, then all such nominees tied at that round shall be eliminated.

3.A.4: After the initial Award ballot is generated, if any finalist(s) are removed for any reason, the finalist selection process shall be rerun as though the removed finalist(s) had never been nominee(s). None of the remaining original finalists who have been notified shall be removed as a result of this rerun. The new finalist(s) shall be merged with the original finalists, extending the final ballot if necessary.

Section 3.9: Notification and Acceptance.

3.9.1 Worldcon Committees shall use reasonable efforts to notify the nominees finalists, or in the case of deceased or incapacitated persons, their heirs, assigns, or legal guardians, in each category prior to the release of such information. Each nominee person notified shall be asked at that time to either accept or decline the nomination. If the nominee person notified declines the nomination, that nominee finalist(s) shall not appear on the final ballot. The procedure for replacement of such finalist(s) is described in subsection 3.A.4.

Section 3.11: Tallying of Votes.

3.11.4: The complete numerical vote totals, including all preliminary tallies for first, second, . . . places, shall be made public by the Worldcon Committee within ninety (90) days after the Worldcon. During the same period the nomination voting totals shall also be published, including in each category the vote counts for at least the fifteen highest vote-getters and any other candidate receiving a number of votes equal to at least five percent (5%) of the nomination ballots cast in that category, but not including any candidate receiving fewer than five votes. During the same period, the results of the last ten rounds of the finalist selection process for each category (or all the rounds if there are fewer than ten) shall also be published.

Moved, that unless this amendment is re-ratified by the 2022 Business Meeting, Section 3.A shall be repealed, and

Provided that the question of re-ratification shall be automatically be placed on the agenda of the 2022 Business Meeting with any constitutional amendments awaiting ratification.

Submitted by: Keith “Kilo” Watt, Jameson Quinn, Tammy Coxen, Yoana Yotova, Joshua Kronengold, Christopher Battey, David Gallaher, Adam Tilghman, David Wallace, Sara Watt, CJ Cabourne, Steven Halter, P J Evans, David Goldfarb, Seth Gordon, Ginger Tansey, Steve Wright, Catherine Faber, Andy Holloway, Duncan J. Macdonald, Claudia Beach, Derry Earnshaw, Jason Skiles, Soon Lee, David Harmon, Lydia Nickerson, Abigail Sutherland, Lee Billings, Oskari Rantala, Seth Breidbart, Chris Suslowicz, Fragano Ledgister, Lori Coulson, Jeffry Herman, Mark Shier, Buddha Buck, Lenore Jean Jones, David Langford, Christopher Hatton, Rogers Cadenhead

Commentary: “E Pluribus Hugo” – the name of this proposal is also its goal: recognizing the many opinions within fandom as to what nominees might be worthy of the Hugo. It is to be emphasized that this proposal does not change the nominating process from the perspective of Worldcon members: They still list the nominees, unranked, they feel are Hugo-worthy (up to the maximum permitted) in any categories they choose, just as they have in the past. In the past, we have counted the number of nominations each nominee received, and the top five nominees were put on the final ballot. However, because SF fandom typically nominates a variety of different nominees, it was easy for an organized slate to make it so that no other nominees made the final ballot.

Using this system, fandom isn’t penalized for nominating a wide variety of nominees. If you nominate something that ends up not having a chance to make the final ballot, then your remaining choices automatically get more of your support instead of just being wasted. In other words, you can safely nominate anything you feel is Hugoworthy. If enough people agree with you, it will make the final ballot. If they don’t, that’s okay – when that nominee is eliminated, your other choices will have a greater chance of making the final ballot. In this way, by eliminating the least popular candidates each round, fandom slowly converges to a consensus as to which finalists should be voted on to be the Hugo winner.

It is also an explicit goal of this proposal not to disenfranchise anyone. Rather, this proposal seeks to ensure that no group of members – of any sort, minority or majority – can disproportionately dominate an entire category. This system allows the broadest range of nominees that are popular with fandom-at-large to be considered for the Hugo Awards.