Messages from the Chair

This page archives the messages from the Chicon 8 Chair that have appeared on the main page as well as e-mails sent to members in the weeks leading up to Chicon 8.

Current Message

January 24, 2023

Happy 2023!

We are now fully in the winter season, and we’re in the New Year, and I hope so far it’s been great for everyone. My current hope is for a delightfully uneventful and boring 2023.

We’re continuing to work on wrapping up Chicon 8. I last emailed you in October and much has been done since then! I’m going to give a few updates and timelines, and then we’ll move on to talking about the feedback we’ve been given. It’s a long email – hang in there with us!

Thanks very much,
Helen Montgomery

Chair, Chicon 8

Fire Sale Still Ongoing!

At the end of a Worldcon, there is always a bunch of stuff leftover that was needed for the convention, but now needs a good home! If you are in Chicago, or will be in Chicago, we’re happy to give/sell you some things. Our storage facility is around North Ave and Cicero Ave if you want to pick up, or we can arrange local delivery. If you’re coming out for Capricon in February, we are happy to deliver to you there.

If you are interested, the list of available items is here, and you can email us at to make arrangements.

Speaking of Capricon…

Did you have a good time at Chicon 8? You should check out some of our other local conventions!

Capricon 43 is coming up next week! It is February 2-5, 2023 at the Sheraton in downtown Chicago (just across the river from where Chicon 8 was held). The program schedule is available on the website, and rates are good until January 31. It’s my home convention, and always a good time! I would love to see you there. 

Later in 2023, you can attend other local conventions such as Windycon in November, Anime Central in May, Chicago TARDIS in November, and Midwest Furfest in December.

Chicon 8 Merchandise

We plan to keep our Redbubble shop open for another month or two, so you still have time to buy Chicon 8 merchandise.

We are still trying to find a vendor to work with so we can offer the t-shirts featuring artwork from Gene Ha and Eric Wilkerson. We weren’t able to get anything worked out due to holiday rush season with a lot of vendors, but we are starting to work on it again now. We will let you know as soon as we have that option available!

Souvenir Book Shipping

It was a lot of work, but the Souvenir Books have been mailed! There was a short delay as the US Post Office has higher rates for shipping during the holiday season, and our fulfillment group warned us that the huge volume of packages shipping in December meant that shipping in January was a better option.

If you believe you should have received one but don’t get one by the end of January, please let us know at so we can look into it for you.

The electronic version of the Souvenir Book can be found here on our website.

Hugo Nominations for 2023

As a member of Chicon 8, you have the right to nominate for the 2023 Hugo Awards, to be awarded in Chengdu, China, later this year. Nominations have not yet opened, but this is your heads up! We will send you an email with details when they open.

Feedback from Members

Many thanks to those of you who have provided feedback to us about Chicon 8, be it at the convention, by email, or on social media. We have pulled together everything we could find and will be sharing it with Chengdu Worldcon 2023, Winnipeg 2023, and Glasgow 2024. We will also pass it along to the 2024 NASFiC if one is chosen, and the winners for 2025 and 2026. We have also shared the feedback with our staff, with some summarizing and redaction of identifying information done.

There are a few items that we would like to specifically address here. In some cases we want to provide our reasoning for the decisions that were made, for transparency and understanding, and the opportunity for other conventions to learn from us. In other cases we need to apologize for mistakes that were made.

We are, of course, open to additional feedback if you want to share it with us – you can email us via – and we will make sure it is also distributed to future Worldcons and NASFiCs. 

Future Worldcon Q&A Session

We would like to make a formal apology to the community for an insensitive choice made for the title of a program item.

For many years, the Q&A session for future Worldcon bids was referred to as “The Fannish Inquisition.” This phrase was initially created as a riff off the Monty Python sketch. However, the actual Spanish Inquisition was of course an atrocity against many groups, and the descendants of those groups understandably find this to be an offensive joke.

When we initially published our Pocket Program and opened our online guide, it showed that the name of the item included “The Fannish Inquisition” as part of the title.

When this was pointed out to us in August, we promptly made the change to our online guide, and also edited the initial Pocket Program PDF to remove it and put up the new version. We confirmed that the phrase had not been used anywhere else. The timing was such that we did not manage to get out an apology right away, but we believe it is still important to do so now.

We apologize for our mistake, we thank the member who brought it to our attention, and we continue to support and encourage the use of “Future Worldcon Q&A Session” or something similar for future Worldcons and any other conventions who host this type of session.

Error in Hugo Awards List in the Printed Souvenir Book

We apologize for errors that appeared in the official Chicon 8 Souvenir Book on page 98, in the listing of previous Astounding Award winners.

When constructing the list of previous winners, the team mistakenly took the first name (ordered alphabetically) from this year’s Astounding Award ballot and listed it for the 2022 Astounding Award winner. We corrected this in the electronic version of the Souvenir Book. The team working on the Souvenir Book did not have visibility into the results of this year’s voting, and this error does not reflect anything other than the alphabetical ordering of the ballot.

We also apologize for the misspelling of Emily Tesh’s name as the 2021 Astounding Award winner, and the misspelling of Jeannette Ng’s name as the 2019 Astounding Award winner. 

These have also been corrected in the electronic version of the Souvenir Book.

Credit for Hugo Awards Finalists (Translators and Colorists)

S. Qiouyi Lu brought to our attention the exclusion of translators’ names from the written works in the “long listed” works in the detailed results for the 2022 Hugo Awards, explaining the importance of proper credit for translators in a Twitter thread here: We have posted a corrected set of detailed results at, in which we have included the translators for the written works and colorists for the graphic novels. 

As part of the administration of the Hugo Awards, we endeavor to list all relevant creators on the final ballot presented to voters, and this includes confirming the correct ballot citations with Finalists themselves. The long list in the detailed results released after the Hugo Award ceremony is a different matter: it is required by the WSFS Constitution primarily for transparency into our processes, and has the side benefit of pointing folks to works that garnered significant community interest so they can go seek them out on their own. As noted in the detailed results, we do not vet the long list for eligibility and because the primary function of the long list is transparency into the process (which requires a table that is easy to parse), we do not list out full citations with all associated names, publishers, etc. We truncate references to all the works on the long list, listing authors for the written works, author/artist for the graphic stories, and no names at all for the Best Dramatic Presentations and magazines. 

Taking into account feedback from S. Qiouyi Lu and other members of the community, we have come to understand that the work of translators of written works is as fundamental to the work as the authors, and that where one is listed, both should be. We have made corrections to the translated long list works in the 2022 detailed results accordingly. For similar reasons, we are also adding the colorists and cover artists, where they are cited, to the graphic novel listings in the 2022 long list works. 

Thank you to S. Qiouyi Lu and everyone else in the community who has worked with us on this issue.

Hugo Awards Ceremony

We would like to discuss two incidents that occurred during the Hugo Awards Ceremony.

First, we would like to apologize to Marguerite Kenner, Finalist in the Best Fanzine category for The Full Lid, whose name was not read aloud during the ceremony. This was simply a mis-read by our ceremony hosts, who did immediately reach out personally to Ms. Kenner after the ceremony to apologize as well.

Second, there were concerns raised online during the Best Semiprozine category presentation when the audience laughed at the discrepancy between the slide listing the names of the Strange Horizons team and what was said aloud. While we spoke with all Finalists and agreed upon the language to be used on the slides and in the presentation, we acknowledge that we did not properly explain to the audience the context and conversation around not reading out the names of everyone on the Strange Horizons team. We also did not properly support our hosts by putting them in this situation. We will be speaking to future Worldcons to pass on our advice and experience in the hope to avoid similar situations in the future. 

Credit Where Credit Is Due

We apologize for failing to list the following people in the credits for the Hugo Awards Ceremony and Opening Ceremony. 

  • Emily Knowles-Grumble (Chicon 8 Art Director)
  • Sara Felix (Lodestar Award designer)
  • Sabrina Stein (Chicon 8 Animation Lead)
  • Steven H Silver (Chicon 8 In Memoriam List)

We will be updating the credits for the videos posted in our YouTube channel.

Airmeet Update

At the start of Chicon 8, we issued an apology regarding accessibility issues with our Virtual Platform, Airmeet. We would like to let you know what happened next.

The day after Chicon 8 issued the virtual access apology, our Airmeet account team reached out to us directly. They let us know that three actions were already on their roadmap: full accessibility for those using screen readers, improvements to closed captioning, and aiming for Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.1 compliance throughout the site in 2023.

They also asked to immediately schedule time with us to take feedback. In response to additional direct written feedback from our Virtual team, we were informed of other improvements currently in testing, including closed captions at the Tables and better keyboard navigation for attending Sessions. 

After the convention, staff met with Airmeet to bring up further concerns. In response to this meeting, Airmeet added improvements to the multiple speaker closed caption experience and visual contrast improvements to their roadmap. Additionally, we are providing a list of improvements, bugs, and suggestions obtained via member feedback throughout the convention to Airmeet.

Overall, our experience working with Airmeet has been very positive, and we’re excited to see what they do next!

Art Show Feedback

Multiple people provided feedback to us regarding the Chicon 8 Art Show. We thank you for the compliments, and would like to address some of the issues.

A few people noted that they did not like having the Art Show in a different space from the Dealers Room. By putting the Art Show in the ballroom, we did not need to use the Decorator and their labor, but instead could set up the Art Show using volunteers. This allowed for significantly lower costs, flexibility if we needed to adjust the space to accommodate walk-in artists, and the ability for artists to hang/display their own artwork. It also meant that we could keep the Art Show open later on some evenings, such as for the Artist Meet and Greet on Friday, without having to secure the rest of the exhibit hall.

(As it turned out, we had to completely redesign the layout of the Art Show on Tuesday, and we were able to do so because of being in the ballroom. Unexpected levels of redesign, but kudos to our Art Show Director for their efforts that evening!)

We hope that helps explain why the decision was made. We understand that many people like having the one large area with the Art Show and Dealers Room together, but for us, this year in particular, the cost savings and flexibility meant choosing to separate them.

Additional feedback on the Art Show focused on what some felt was inadequate lighting and the lack of promotion of the Art Auction. We acknowledge that we could have done better in both areas and apologize for any distress that was caused for artists and attendees.

Badge Lanyards

We had several people complain about the lanyards that were given out with attendee badges. The lanyards were single point clips, and as a result badges would often flip over, obscuring the name. 

You’ll note that we had the badges themselves made with holes to have two point clips. We ordered lanyards accordingly, but the company sent the wrong lanyards and there was no time to fix it. We were grumpy about it too.

Pocket Program

Without question, the choice we made to have an electronic-only Pocket Program Guide has brought the most feedback, both positive and negative.

Why did we make this decision?

First, since the beginning, we had been trying to reduce the amount of paper that the convention was using. We started by having our Progress Reports be electronic only, and initially thought we would have a printed Pocket Program (PP) and Souvenir Book (SB), in addition to electronic versions. 

As we moved closer to the convention, our budget was getting tighter and tighter. Many things cost significantly more than usual, and our membership numbers were not growing as quickly as we had hoped. As we looked for places to cut back spending, we revisited the PP and SB being printed. These were both coming in at substantially higher costs than usual, as the cost of paper had skyrocketed.

With the PP, the content often becomes outdated the moment it goes to the printer. Program items are changing times and people right up until the moment the item starts. This year was particularly difficult, as we were having a lot of people switch from in person to virtual at the last minute due to the pandemic. The SB content, on the other hand, is much more static.

We knew that we would have ConClár, our online guide for everything happening at the convention both in-person and online, which would be updated constantly and always be up-to-date for people logging on from home and using a smartphone or tablet on site.

For those who prefer a paper schedule, we knew that there would be printed schedule grids for each day, printed much closer to the convention and therefore more up-to-date. We also knew that Program would be producing daily change sheets, giving people access to last minute changes.

We also knew that ConClár and the PDF of the PP would be available prior to the convention, allowing people to begin making their schedules before they arrived in Chicago.

Taking all of this into account, we made the decision to keep the SB in a printed format, and changed the PP to electronic only, saving tens of thousands of dollars.

We did not, however, do the best job of rolling this information out to members. Looking back, here’s what we have identified as things we could have done better.

  1. We announced the decision on August 15, with a more detailed follow-up on August 18. We had made the decision about a month earlier, and should have announced it sooner.
  2. On August 29, we launched several new website pages “At A Glance”. Ideally those would have been done earlier. We wanted them done earlier. We simply ran out of people and time.
  3. We should have made simple black and white printouts of the first pages of the PP with general convention information (not program items) and had them available with the SB.
  4. We should have made the location of the daily schedule grids and the change sheets more obvious, and made sure that all staff and volunteers working in the hub (registration, access, info desk, etc.) knew what was available and could point people at the printed materials.
  5. We could have made a list of changes by room and included that on the signs located at each room.

The primary issues were encountered onsite, with the poor internet connection in the convention space being the biggest problem. We had not anticipated the problem being as bad as it was, and we could not afford to purchase full wifi coverage from the hotel. Unfortunately this meant that people could not rely upon ConClár to get their schedules easily. Items 3, 4, and 5 above would have helped.

Ultimately, as Convention Chair, I stand by the decision we made. Under the circumstances, I believe it was the right choice. I wish, however, that we had been able to execute it better. I apologize that we did not do well on the execution, and hope that future Worldcons and other conventions learn from our mistakes.

Previous messages

  • October 5, 2022: Souvenir Book Mailing, Chicon 8 Newsletter Archives, Merch!, Chicon 8 by the Numbers, COVID-19 Cases, Thanks to Volunteers!, Awards, Hugo Awards
  • August 29, 2022: Official Social Media for Chicon 8, Help with Move In, New Website Pages, Policies, On Site Registration, Star Chart, Virtual C8 Information, Bike he Drive, Online/Electronic Harassment, Faux Merchandise Online.
  • August 25, 2022: Online/Electronic Harassment, Faux Merchandise Online, Pocket Program—Now Available, Website Updates, ConClar Update—New Feature Added, Fringe Events, Volunteering
  • August 22, 2022 (Attending): Thank You to Chengdu 2023, Policies, Pocket Program Updates, Fringe Events, Families and Kids, Volunteering, Charles de Lint Update/Request for Help
  • August 22, 2022 (Supporting and Virtual): Thank You to Chengdu 2023, Policies, Pocket Program Updates, Volunteering, Charles de Lint Update/Request for Help
  • August 18, 2022: Program Schedule Available, Pocket Program Update, Volunteers
  • August 15, 2022: Progress Report 5, Program Schedule Coming Soon, Pocket Program/Online Program Guide, It’s Easy Being Green, Artists Showcase Now Online
  • August 11, 2022: Hugo Voting Closes, COVID Policy, Chicon 8 Merchandise, Tamora’s Legends
  • August 8, 2022 (Attending): Monkeypox Statement, Dr Eve L. Ewing Will Be Virtual, Hugo Voting Closes, Site Selection Voting Open, Hotel Reservations Extended, Chicago Worldcon Community Fund, Volunteer Opportunities
  • August 8, 2022 (Supporting): Dr Eve L. Ewing Will Be Virtual, Hugo Voting Closes, Site Selection Voting Open, Chicago Worldcon Community Fund, Volunteer Opportunities
  • August 8, 2022 (Virtual): Dr Eve L. Ewing Will Be Virtual, Hugo Voting Closes, Site Selection Voting Open, Chicago Worldcon Community Fund, Volunteer Opportunities
  • August 1, 2022: Site Selection Updates, Facebook Group, Access Services