WSFS Business Meeting
What Does Being a WSFS Member Mean?
As a member of Glasgow 2024, 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 Glasgow 2024.
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 itself).
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 participate in the WSFS-related aspects of Glasgow 2024 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, all WSFS members may submit business.
What Happened At Last Year’s Business Meeting (and why does it matter)?
Changes to the WSFS Constitution normally have to be passed at one Worldcon and then ratified at the next one before they are confirmed. This ensures that there is time to fully reflect on the decision made in the room before finalising the change. It also enables people who were not present for the original discussion to express their views. The items which were passed last year and are now up for ratification are referred to as “Business Passed On”.
Sometimes committees are also established by one Business Meeting to report back the following year.
You can find the Minutes of the 2023 Business Meeting, held at the Chengdu Worldcon, on the WSFS Website, along with the Business Passed On to Glasgow 2024. Video recordings of all sessions of the 2023 Business Meeting are available on the Worldcon Events Youtube Channel.
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, August 9 to Monday, August 12. It is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. each day, but if the agenda for any individual day is completed 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, August 11).
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 reports on the finances of previous and future Worldcons, reports from other WSFS 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 note above, 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 at email@example.com. 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, as well as reports from committee and previous Worldcons, to the 2024 WSFS Business Meeting is Wednesday, 10 July, 2024. Proposals received after that date will generally not be considered, subject to the provisions of Standing Rule 2.1.