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The Rumor of the Now.

dinogrlJul. 31st, 2007 03:05 pm Vote!

Another reminder...if you are eligible to vote for Hugos, you have a little time left.  Voting closes at 11:59 P.M. Pacific Time.

21 comments - Leave a commentPrevious Entry Share Next Entry

Comments:

From:jorhett
Date:July 31st, 2007 10:35 pm (UTC)

I give up.

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I'm sorry, I don't generally consider myself an idiot ... but I've been through the explanations of worldcon and hugo voting three different times, with three different sets of friends, and I got informed quite clearly last night that I still don't understand.

I do data analysis for a living, mind you. I spent my entire day taking data and trying to make it available and usable for mortals. And I've never run into something this hard to understand. (when the answers keep changing...)

So I'm done. Unless I find myself in a life situation which allows me to attend every single WorldCon, trying to figure out when I can and when I can't vote just isn't worth the bother.
From:kevin_standlee
Date:August 1st, 2007 03:01 am (UTC)

Re: I give up.

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What is it that you don't understand?

If I heard you last night properly, you said that you voted on the site selection that took place at L.A.con IV, the 2006 Worldcon. Is that correct?

WSFS selects sites two years in advance. That means that if you voted for a Worldcon in 2006, you were voting on where the 2008 Worldcon.

When you vote, you pay a fee. That fee is a supporting membership in the Worldcon on which you're voting. That means that if you voted for a Worldcon in 2006, you bought a supporting membership in the 2008 Worldcon. Denver won, so that means you bought a supporting membership in Denvention Three.

I'm dead serious when I say that I want to know what it was that was confusing about this. I work very hard to explain how the system works. The instructions are in writing. They were printed on the ballot you cast (assuming you voted on site selection). Where did we fail to explain things properly? What did your friends tell you?
From:jorhett
Date:August 1st, 2007 07:04 pm (UTC)

Re: I give up.

(Link)
The topic at the table at that time was Hugo voting. And I was told that because I paid $50 for the right to vote, it gave me an associate/whatever membership in the 2008 convention and the right to vote in the next year's Hugos.

This kindof made it worthwhile to spend $50. Oh wait, no you don't get to vote in the Hugos. So apparently I spent $50 which gave me a membership in a convention I could not possibly attend so that I could vote on a site selection.

Apparently if you miss a year you'll lose the ability to vote for Hugos in 2 different years. Or nominate in one but vote in another? Or perhaps I'm confused again, which is EXACTLY THE POINT.

It's 2007 for christ's sake. There is the Internet. There's the web. The web has been around for 15 years now. Why is there not a single definitive reference on that web for this topic?

Because nobody understands it, that's why.
From:kevin_standlee
Date:August 1st, 2007 07:35 pm (UTC)

How Worldcon Site Selection Voting Works

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Now these are perfectly sensible questions, and I'll be happy to answer them. At their root, I think the cause is that either someone told you the wrong thing our you didn't hear them correctly.
The topic at the table at that time was Hugo voting. And I was told that because I paid $50 for the right to vote, it gave me an associate/whatever membership in the 2008 convention...
Yes, that's right. It's called a supporting membership. You are a supporting member of the 2008 Worldcon, Denvention 3, to be held in Denver, Colorado, USA, in August 2008. This comes with the following rights:

1. To receive all of Denvention 3's general publications, including progress reports and souvenir book.

2. To nominate for the 2008 Hugo Awards, the ballot for which will appear in early 2008.

3. To vote on the final ballot for the 2008 Hugo Awards, the ballot for which will appear probably in March or April 2008.

4. To nominate for the 2009 Hugo Awards, the ballot for which will appear in early 2009.

5. To vote on the site of the 2010 Worldcon, subject to payment of the Advance Supporting Membership fee for that year's election.
...and the right to vote in the next year's Hugos.
Well, whoever said that was wrong, or misunderstood things themselves, or you heard them wrong.

Now, because you were a member of L.A.con IV, you had the right to nominate (but not vote on the final ballot) for the 2008 Hugo Awards. There is this overlapping right between years. Members of year N may nominate in both their own year and year N+1, but may only vote on the final ballot in year N.

One thing that is constant: to vote on the final ballot for any given Worldcon, you must be at least a supporting member of that Worldcon.

[Continued in next reply.]
From:kevin_standlee
Date:August 1st, 2007 07:42 pm (UTC)

Re: How Worldcon Site Selection Voting Works

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Blast LJ and its inability to edit posted comments! Edit the above thusly:

Now, because you were a member of L.A.con IV, you had the right to nominate (but not vote on the final ballot) for the 2008 2007 Hugo Awards.
From:kevin_standlee
Date:August 1st, 2007 07:37 pm (UTC)

How Worldcon Site Selection Voting Works

(Link)
[Continued from previous reply.]
So apparently I spent $50 which gave me a membership in a convention I could not possibly attend so that I could vote on a site selection.
Well, you're a supporting member of Denvention 3, the 2008 Worldcon. You can attend it by paying the difference in cost between supporting and attending. If you don't attend, you can nominate and vote in the 2008 Hugo Awards. Are you saying there is no chance that you'll be able to attend the 2008 Worldcon in Denver? Or that you have no interest in nominating and voting in the 2008 Hugo Awards?
Apparently if you miss a year you'll lose the ability to vote for Hugos in 2 different years.
No, only the one year that you skip. Because of the overlap, if you only join every other year, you'll be able to nominate every year, but only vote on the final ballot for the years where you are a member of the Worldcon.
It's 2007 for christ's sake. There is the Internet. There's the web. The web has been around for 15 years now.
There are actually quite a few explanations, but they're all over the place. Cheryl wrote a good Hugo Awards FAQ that includes some of these answers. And the rules of the World Science Fiction Society are on the web. But what do you expect? Every Worldcon is a standalone entity. The committee that ran the 2006 Worldcon in Anaheim is not running the 2007 Worldcon in Yokohama. Neither of those committees is running the 2008 Worldcon in Denver. Every one of them is an independent, stand-alone entity being organized from scratch.

Imagine if BayCon had not only had to move from San Jose to San Mateo, but was being run by a completely different organization, with a committee that had not run a BayCon before, and that next year's BayCon in Santa Clara was also being run by yet a different organization and committee. That's how Worldcons work.
Why is there not a single definitive reference on that web for this topic?
Okay, tell me exactly where you expect to find this "definitive reference." And now that I've explained it to you, possibly you can tell me if the explanation makes any sense and what you might suggest I do to improve it. That probably sounds sarcastic, but I mean it.

I do also think that no matter what we do, it won't be possible to stop people from making mistakes. If someone tells you the wrong thing, or if you hear them wrong, no amount of documentation or web sites will help.
Because nobody understands it, that's why.
That's not true. There are people who understand it; I'm one of them. The people who attend Business Meetings and therefore participate in the rule-making process probably understand it.

The underlying cause is and always will be that Worldcons are not a single entity, but a bunch of different organizations that exist for a few years and then go away. Have a look at the still-standing past Worldcons' web sites and see how different they are in how they approached their duties and you'll get some inkling of why it's very difficult to have a "single definitive reference."

Heck, I could write an article about it, like the one I wrote about the WSFS Mark Protection Committee. But who would read it? And how would they find it?
From:jorhett
Date:August 1st, 2007 07:53 pm (UTC)

Re: How Worldcon Site Selection Voting Works

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WorldCon's move, but the WorldCon rules don't change every year with them, right?

So this should be clear on the www.wsfs.org website.

So I go there. Can't find anything about voting. Go to rules. I have no idea why any of these things are relevant to me. Constitution maybe? Hey, here's Hugo rules!

(reads 120 lines before eyes start to glaze over)

Hey, look at this!

Each member of either the administering or the immediately preceding Worldcon as of January 31 of the current calendar year shall be allowed to make up to five (5) equally weighted nominations in every category.

Okay, cool, I was in last year's WorldCon so I can nominate, right?

And then:
Final Award voting shall be by balloting in advance of the Worldcon. Postal mail shall always be acceptable. Only WSFS members may vote.

Okay, cook so I was a member of this WorldCon so by the home page declaration I'm currently a member of the WSFS so that means I can vote, right?

Nope.

Look seriously, perhaps I'm being a bit slack. But exactly which "normal people" are going to try and read the constitution of WSFS and try and figure out what it means for them?

If you want to write something and have it be read, make a FAQ about WSFS membership and voting and make it accessible. Something with just the parts of the current rules that affect members only.
From:kevin_standlee
Date:August 1st, 2007 09:04 pm (UTC)

Re: How Worldcon Site Selection Voting Works

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Before I start replying, I think I should make it clear that in principle I agree with you. There are certain practical difficulties in doing what you propose, which I'll try to discuss below.
So this should be clear on the www.wsfs.org website.
I'm not going to deny that. Any suggestion as to where the clarification should go? Should it, say, be more prominent than the information about the two upcoming Worldcons?
So I go there. Can't find anything about voting.
Right. WSFS doesn't run the elections, that's why, any more than the International Olympic Committee runs the individual Olympic Games that it sanctions. If you want to know about the current year's Hugo awards and voting for it, you need the current Worldcon's web site section about the Hugo Awards, where it says, in part:
Hugo Nomination and Voting

Voting for the Hugo Awards took place in two stages.

During the Nomination Ballot stage, Nippon 2007 and LACon IV members nominated up to five entries in each category.

During the Final Ballot, members of only Nippon 2007 selected their favorites from the Nominees. Balloting closed July 31.
This is in past tense because the voting is now closed. A few days ago it would have included a link to the Hugo Final Ballot.
Go to rules. I have no idea why any of these things are relevant to me. Constitution maybe? Hey, here's Hugo rules! (reads 120 lines before eyes start to glaze over)
Well, I never said that rules are interesting except to rules wonks. If you want a popularization, try Cheryl's Hugo Awards Pages.

But I don't mean to dismiss your concern. Even as I write this, WSFS has a committee working on a number of things to improve the reputation and notoriety of the Hugo Awards, including a new web site that I think someday will be available at www.hugo.org. (That address just redirects to the main WSFS site right now.) Trust me, when the new site rolls out, I'll talk about it here.
Okay, cool, I was in last year's WorldCon so I can nominate, right?
Yes, that's correct. The nominating ballot came out in January 2007. You may have even received a copy. Did you nominate? The deadline was earlier this year.
so I was a member of this WorldCon so by the home page declaration I'm currently a member of the WSFS so that means I can vote, right?
No, you're not currently a member of WSFS. The Constitution says:
Section 1.4: Membership.The Membership of WSFS shall consist of all people who have paid membership dues to the Committee of the current Worldcon.
The "current Worldcon" is Nippon 2007, the 2007 Worldcon in Yokohama. As I recall, you said you hadn't bought a membership to them. If you had, they would have sent you progress reports and a Hugo ballot.

Because you voted in the site selection election in Anaheim, you are a member of next year's Worldcon, Denvention 3, the 2008 Worldcon in Denver. When Nippon 2007 is over, Denvention 3 becomes the "current Worldcon."
But exactly which "normal people" are going to try and read the constitution of WSFS and try and figure out what it means for them?
As I said at the start, I actually am sympathetic to this. But I've found that many attempts to write such simplifications run afoul of people who do know the rules nit-picking the explanations to death over the odd situations and exceptions. Believe it or not, I've been simplifying all along here. Someone else who knows the rules well could jump all over me with all of the exceptional cases.

[Continued in next reply.]
From:kevin_standlee
Date:August 1st, 2007 09:15 pm (UTC)

Re: How Worldcon Site Selection Voting Works

(Link)
[Continued from previous reply.]
If you want to write something and have it be read, make a FAQ about WSFS membership and voting and make it accessible. Something with just the parts of the current rules that affect members only.
Everything affects the members! Every member of the Worldcon is a member of WSFS. You just don't think that it does unless you happen to step on one of the land mines. But once again, I do understand the concern, and while you're not seeing it immediately, work has been going on behind the scenes to try and write explanations that are more accessible. Here's an example:

Who can nominate and vote?


Nominations are open to members of the current year's Worldcon and to members of the past year's Worldcon. The final ballot is open only to members of the current year's Worldcon. You do not have to attend the Worldcon in order to vote. A special category of Supporting Membership is available for people who wish to vote but cannot afford to attend the convention. Supporting Membership also entitles you to all of the official Worldcon publications for that year, and entitles you to participate in the vote to select the site for the Worldcon to be held two years hence.
Is that clear enough?

I get the impression that part of the difficulty you have understanding what's going on is that there is more than one Worldcon out there. There is this year's Worldcon, and then there is one after that. Both of them exist at the same time. They're independent entities, both running under the same general name "Worldcon." But, to return to the Olympic analogy, if you buy tickets to the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, they won't admit you to the 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver, nor to the 2012 Olympic Games in London. But they're all Olympics, and they all operate under the same general rules.

I'm not saying that you're wrong when you say the system is confusing. I'm not even saying that we couldn't do a better job of explaining it; we could, and some of us who care deeply and passionately about the Worldcon, WSFS, and the Hugo Awards are working on it. But the very nature of the Worldcon, with multiple committees and a decentralized administration with a very weak central government, means that there is a certain about of complexity that you'll never see with your garden-variety, same-place-same-time-same-people annual SF convention.
From:jorhett
Date:August 4th, 2007 03:53 am (UTC)

Re: How Worldcon Site Selection Voting Works

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Sorry to shoot you in the foot for trying to be helpful, but that you've had to write 4 very long explanations of this is kindof proof that it ain't simple.

It's funny, when I first started this I was amazed at the very low voting rates of attendees. And confused that pretty much everyone I knew (who wasn't a SMOF) didn't vote for Hugos because they were too obtuse for them. I was all intrigued because I thought having the ability to vote for what you considered the best SF this year was the coolest thing ever.

Now I understand. If you have to be a SMOF to understand the rules, it loses appeal.

And no, I've never received anything about any of my worldcon stuff. Nothing about Hugos, nothing. I only saw stuff here on basfa LJ. That's it.
From:kevin_standlee
Date:August 5th, 2007 04:41 am (UTC)

Re: How Worldcon Site Selection Voting Works

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You're right. It's not simple. We could make it simple by not giving you the right to vote, having every Worldcon held in the same place, and organized by the same group of people. Then it would be nice and simple, and you wouldn't have to worry about anything but the current convention. But since Worldcon is not a single convention held in the same place every single year, like DragonCon or ComicCon, it gets complicated. And the Olympics are more complicated than a high school track meet, too. And allowing people to vote is complicated, too; it would be much easier if we just had a Sekrit Cabal make all of the decisions for you.

You've not received anything about Worldcon because I don't think the 2006 Worldcon in Denver has mailed anything. But go look up your name on the Denvention 3 membership management page. I found your name there, for instance.

Next year is 2008. You are a member of the 2008 Worldcon. You can nominate and vote on the 2008 Hugo Awards, organized by the 2008 Worldcon, which will be held in 2008.

You are not a member of the 2007 Worldcon because you never joined the 2007 Worldcon. I'm sorry that someone's explanation of how site selection voting worked may have misled you into thinking that you were paying for a membership in 2007, but because we vote two years in advance, and 2006 + 2 = 2008, you were actually buying a membership for the convention two years after the 2006 Worldcon, which is the 2008 Worldcon.
From:jorhett
Date:August 5th, 2007 05:02 am (UTC)

Re: How Worldcon Site Selection Voting Works

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You're right. It's not simple. We could make it simple by not giving you the right to vote, having every Worldcon held in the same place, and organized by the same group of people. Then it would be nice and simple, and you wouldn't have to worry about anything but the current convention. But since Worldcon is not a single convention held in the same place every single year, like DragonCon or ComicCon, it gets complicated. And the Olympics are more complicated than a high school track meet, too. And allowing people to vote is complicated, too; it would be much easier if we just had a Sekrit Cabal make all of the decisions for you.

Wow, you're really pulling all of the punches out to be a jerk, aren't you?

I could sit here and do the exact same reductionist crap to make you look like an idiot for continuing to avoid the real issue that I raised (that with lots of hand-holding and advice each step of the way it still didn't get done right so there is definitely a lack of understanding in the staff). But I won't do that, because even though you've proved just how nasty you can be, I respect you too much to sit here and do this crap in public.

And frankly, I respect myself too much to put up with your insolence any more. Bye.

From:kevin_standlee
Date:August 6th, 2007 04:46 am (UTC)

Re: How Worldcon Site Selection Voting Works

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I apologize for being sarcastic and snarky with you. What you read was my own personal frustration at my failure of my own ability to adequately explain the system to you. My frustration boiled over, and I took it out on you. I'm sorry.
From:bovil
Date:August 1st, 2007 11:16 pm (UTC)

Re: How Worldcon Site Selection Voting Works

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The site selection fee at Anahiem was $40. At Anaheim, you could buy supporting memberships in Nippon for $50 (and K and I did). I wonder if there isn't a lost supporting registration here.
From:bovil
Date:August 1st, 2007 11:27 pm (UTC)

Re: I give up.

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I know you voted in site selection, but I don't remember if you also bought a supporting in Nippon2007. K and I bought our supportings for Nippon2007 and voted at L.A.con IV.

Check your check register. If it's a check for $50 to Nippon2007, it's a supporting membership in Nippon2007, (which should have been good for voting this year in Hugos and site selection, and for nominating in Hugos this year and next year). If it's a check for $40 to "The 66th Worldcon" it's a voting fee and a supporting membership in Denver (which is good for nominating in 2008 and 2009, and good for voting in 2009).

Of course, if you can find your receipt, the information should be there too. I'm not sure how credit card charges would show up; Either (or both) may appear as S.C.I.F.I. Inc. (the corporation operating L.A.con IV) depending on who ran the charges.
From:jorhett
Date:August 4th, 2007 03:54 am (UTC)

Re: I give up.

(Link)
I know you voted in site selection, but I don't remember if you also bought a supporting in Nippon2007. K and I bought our supportings for Nippon2007 and voted at L.A.con IV.

I did whatever you two did, as I was in tow with you guys at the time.

However now it's too late. I went to the website and tried to figure out if I could vote or how to determine and ... gave up after 25 minutes. It just wasn't worth it.
From:kevin_standlee
Date:August 5th, 2007 04:32 am (UTC)

Re: I give up.

(Link)
In that case, you voted on where the 2008 Worldcon would be. Therefore, you are a supporting member of the 2008 Worldcon in Denver. You are not a member of the 2007 Worldcon in Japan. Because you are a member of the 2008 Worldcon in Denver, you should (eventually, when they get around to mailing progress reports) receive publications from them. You will be able to nominate and to vote on the 2008 Hugo Awards, held at the 2008 Worldcon in Denver.

The thing that appears to be confusing you is that you were buying a membership for a convention two years from now. And I get the impression that having to think beyond "next year's convention" is difficult for some people.
From:jorhett
Date:August 5th, 2007 04:57 am (UTC)

Re: I give up.

(Link)
The thing that appears to be confusing you is that you were buying a membership for a convention two years from now. And I get the impression that having to think beyond "next year's convention" is difficult for some people.

Kevin, if you are trying to be a jerk about this and insult me, you are succeeding. Haven't you already shown your feelings well enough in the other forum, do you need to drag it here?

On the hopefully true assumption that you aren't being a jerk, just somehow dismissing my mathemetical ability to count past 1 without insulting me (?)...

Let's make this very clear.

1. I talked over all of this with Kevin and Andy, and got what I thought was a clear understanding.

2. I then went down to vote by myself, and had the same discussion with the people operating the voting booth. And got the same answers, which gave me confidence that I was doing this right.

3. I clearly remember being annoyed at having to pay $50 for a worldcon I could not possibly attend just to vote in the Hugos.

4. I also had to pay for a supporting membership for WorldCon 2008, which I know about and understand. And found their website on my own and upgraded my membership to attending, you can check the list online yourself to confirm.

So I get what you are saying. And yet somehow it didn't work out the way I understood it, or that it was explained by Kevin and Andy or the people at the desk, because I never got to vote on the Hugos, nor do I have a supporting membership that I should have been able to upgrade and then resell so as to not lose money on the deal. (and lose my ability to vote unless I voted before I sold it, etc etc this is all very clear)

So please stop speculating that I can't count from 1 to 2. Not only can I do very basic math, but I can read as well.

What concerns me is that having the ability to do math, the ability to read, and the ability to discuss these issues with several different parties to confirm that I was doing the right thing still didn't manage to get me what I expected. That's why I give up.

So before you blast me about how stupid I must be again, consider that the problem I am relating is that whatever mistake I made in this process ... was made while being hand-held every step of the way by the site selection voting staff present at LAcon.
From:kevin_standlee
Date:August 6th, 2007 04:38 am (UTC)

Re: I give up.

(Link)
3. I clearly remember being annoyed at having to pay $50 for a Worldcon I could not possibly attend just to vote in the Hugos.
Is the "Worldcon I could not possibly attend" Nippon 2007, the 2007 Worldcon in Japan? Is that the convention you're talking about? Are you saying that you were charged $50 at the Site Selection desk at the 2006 Worldcon in Anaheim to buy a membership in the 2007 Worldcon in Japan?

If so, then yes, there is some sort of terrible misunderstanding, and you were very badly misled, and there are people who need to apologize to you. Indeed, even though I was not personally responsible for organizing the site Selection desk at Anaheim in 2006, I feel absolutely awful -- sick to my stomach, even -- if someone there, speaking officially for the 2006 Worldcon in Anaheim, told you that you were buying a membership to the 2007 Worldcon when you voted at the Site Selection Desk.

You say you went to the Site Selection desk at Anaheim in 2006 and you paid money. Do you have any memory of how much you spent?
From:jorhett
Date:August 6th, 2007 06:09 am (UTC)

Re: I give up.

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Actually I misremembered. According to the receipt I found it was $40. But it very clearly states that I had a supporting memmbership in the 66th worldcon. And it also states that it was a receipt for voting in the 65th worldcon site selection (thus my confusion)
From:kevin_standlee
Date:August 6th, 2007 07:46 am (UTC)

Getting On The Ride

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Okay, so at the root of all this it appears that there was a typographical error on receipts, although the ballot itself was correct. At least the ballots pre-con are right; I don't know exactly what the at-con ballots looked like, and they aren't archived on L.A.con IV's web site.

I have to admit that I never noticed myself what the receipts said. I just know that I vote every year -- and have done so since 1984 or thereabouts -- so I was simply staying on board the ride.

And you will be able to nominate and vote on the Hugos next year if you want to do so.