What Does Being a WSFS Member Mean?
As a member of Chicon 8, you are a member of the World Science Fiction Society (WSFS). The membership of WSFS is made up of the membership of the Worldcon for that year—this year that’s Chicon 8.
As a member of WSFS, you have the opportunity to debate and vote on the rules of the organization, including Hugo Award categories, Site Selection processes, and the rules of how the debate on those topics happens (i.e., the rules for the WSFS Business Meeting).
How Do You Get Engaged in WSFS Business?
In addition to nominating for and voting on the Hugo Awards and voting in Site Selection, you can engage with the WSFS-related aspects of Chicon 8 as part of the WSFS Business Meeting.
The debate and discussion on these topics—Hugo Awards, Site Selection, and WSFS Business Meeting rules—occurs at the Business Meeting (yes, the individuals at the meeting debate how the individuals at the meeting should debate). You can be part of that discussion!
You must be an Attending member to actually attend and vote at the Business Meeting; however, Supporting members may submit business.
When Is the Business Meeting?
The Business Meeting occurs on the second, third, fourth, and (if necessary) fifth days of the convention. This year that means Friday, September 2–Monday, September 5. Each day it is scheduled from 10 AM–1 PM, but if the agenda for any individual day is short enough the meeting may end earlier.
Given the way debate occurs, there is no specific time at which any individual item of business will be discussed, just an order. The one exception is the result of Site Selection, which is by rule the first item to come before the meeting on the fourth day of the convention (Sunday, September 4).
What Happens Each Day?
The first session of the meeting is generally known as the Preliminary Business Meeting. It is used to review the agenda for the rest of the sessions, set debate times (which can always be amended), and provides members with the chance to object to discussion of certain items of business (there is a particular mechanism for this and it requires a vote of those present). This session can also include report outs on the finances of previous and future Worldcons, reports from other committees, and votes on certain resolutions.
At the second and following sessions, the meeting handles the business in order, including debate and, as necessary, votes. Business can be voted on or referred to committees to report back this year or in the future. As mentioned, at the third session the Site Selection team presents the results of the vote and a presentation by the newly seated Worldcon is given.
Why All the Rules?
To ensure that each attendee who wants to be is heard, aid in managing votes, and keep the agenda rolling, the Business Meeting is run according to Robert’s Rules of Order, Newly Revised (RONR) unless the WSFS Standing Rules include a specific deviation from RONR.
Remember that “fair” doesn’t always mean “I get what I personally want.” It’s a deliberative assembly run in a democratic manner. That means that sometimes you don’t win, but it does mean that you and everyone else has to play by the same rules.
The current Standing Rules, along with a copy of the WSFS Constitution, can be found on the WSFS website.
How Do I Submit a Proposal?
Any two or more Attending and/or Supporting members can submit business to the meeting. To submit a proposal, send it to the business meeting staff. You can contact us at that address in advance if you need help crafting your proposal into the correct format.
The deadline for submitting proposals to the 2022 WSFS Business Meeting is Wednesday, August 3, 2022. Proposals received after that date will generally not be considered, subject to the provisions of Standing Rule 2.1.
The agenda will be set and released closer to the start of Chicon 8.
You can see business passed on to the 2022 Business Meeting from the 2021 Business Meeting (held at DisCon III) is available on the WSFS website.
Minutes and a recording of the 2021 Business Meeting are available on the WSFS website.