2012 Natcon BM minutes

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This article includes the minutes of the NatCon Business Meeting conducted at Continuum 8 in Melbourne on Monday 11 June, 2012.

These minutes should be considered unofficial, having yet to be approved by the 2013 NatCon Business Meeting.


An agenda was produced, circulated to various email lists and published on the Natcon website.


Chair: David Cake
Minute taker: Emilly McLeay

Present: Jeremy Byrne, Peter Lyons, Donna Maree Hanson, Julian Warner, Terry Frost, Mark Plummer, Claire Brialey, Sue Ann Barber, LynC, Samara Morgan, Ian Nicolls, Julia Svangovic, Rose Mitchell, Paul Ewins, Sarah Parker.

Meeting Opened 10.07

1. Confirmation of the Minutes of the Previous Meeting moved: David Cake, seconded: Peter Lyons, carried

2. Business Arising from the Previous Meeting

  • 2013 Site Selection

(we totally have a site – Canberra in 2013!)

  • More efficient calendar for Ditmar running

hasn't quite been finished – much of it is on wiki.sf.org.au talk pages

  • Automation of the Nominations system
  • Publication of the eligibility and other decisions of the sub-committee

notes towards this are also on the wiki

  • The production of “a document detailing all cultural baggage and natcon traditions”

need to document what is done by natcon standing committee and what is done by the convention committee – notes towards this are also on the wiki

Anything we haven't done finished we'll roll over into next year’s tasks.

A general exhortation from the meeting to continue good works of the committee.

3. Natcon Standing Committee Report & Ditmar sub-committee Report

  • timing of ditmars was well done, woo!
  • Voting process was good – some people voted who weren't actually eligible, which is a shame. Got more votes this year than the last two years: 80 something votes-about 10% increase on 2011. However, as Day members are eligible to vote in the next years Ditmars, we need to be able to have a list of these people from the convention.
  • Still want to automate the process a little better – possibly linking eligibility list and nomination system.
  • Still want to promote and publicize the ditmars more: should we make a permanent page for the ditmars or for the natcon (rather than the actual convention)
  • some kind of voters pack – possibly have stuff put online, like the bsfa awards – samples even, rather than whole works. Committee is generally in favour of it, but don't quite know how to do it.
  • Motion: that the committee be directed to investigate the possibility of liasing with publishers and authors to obtain samples or full works of ditmar nominated works, in order to promote more informed voting.

Moved Ian Nicolls, seconded Rose Mitchell, carried.

4. Site Selection for the 2014 National Convention

Julia Svangovic: Continuum 10 will run queen's birthday weekend 2014 (6-9/6) & will be a big party (10th Continuum). Venue, theme & guests tba - C10 will launch at the end of C9.

Motion to accept Continuum 10 as the 2014 National Convention Moved Ian Nicolls; seconded Donna Maree Hanson; carried.

5. Convention Reports a. 2012 – Continuum 8 (Emilly McLeay)

We found being natcon, generally, to be a good thing for us. We had 65 more members than Continuum 7 – these members are mostly because of the natcon. We'd like to thank the Standing Committee for their advice & assistance. Thanks also to DudCon III, Continuum Foundation, and Vic SF Conventions for financial assistance.

  • Motion: to commend Continuum 8 for running an excellent convention this weekend.

Moved Terry Frost; seconded Jeremy Byrne; carried by acclamation.

b. 2013 – Conflux 9 (Donna Maree Hanson)

  • venue: Rydges Capital Hill in Barton, Canberra (plus a range of spillover accomodation)
  • guests: Nalo Hopkinson, Marc Gascoigne, Karen Miller, Rose Mitchell, Kaaron Warren
  • theme: Junk, Space, Angels.

taking suggestions for program now.

Claire: the fan funds are about to open for nominations - will Conflux be able to arrange for hotel rooms? Donna: we hope so - can't tell just yet though.

6. Selection of the Standing Committee

  • Representative from Conflux 2013: Nicole Murphy
  • Representative from Continuum 2012 and 2014: Emilly McLeay
  • Nominations also from David Cake, Jeremy Byrne, Peter Lyons and Donna Maree Hanson. All elected.

7. Motions on Notice

  • Motion

That 2.2 of the rules be amended to read: 2.2 Fan Categories: Best Fan Writer; Best Fan Artist; Best Fan Publication. Proposed: Jeremy Byrne

Discussion: This specifically drops "in Any Medium" from the name of the award. When the original name was proposed, in 2008, "Publication" may have implied a particular medium more than another to some people, but in 2012 it's redundant.

The feeling of the meeting is that this is premature; Jeremy withdraws the motion. The meeting directs the committee to correct instances where the name of the award is incorrectly listed.

  • Motion

That 3.3 of the rules be amended to read: 3.3 Eligibility of committee members: The awards will be administered by a sub-committee of the Standing Committee of the Business Meeting of the National Australian Science Fiction Convention, and the members of the sub-committee will not be eligible for an award [and may neither nominate nor vote in the awards]. The Standing Committee shall rule on issues of conflict of interest. Proposed: Jeremy Byrne

Discussion: This is a simple clarification.

Seconded: Terry Frost. Carried.

  • Motion

That section 3.12 ('The William Atheling Jr Award') be amended to read: 3.12 The William Atheling Jr Award: The William Atheling Jr Award is for the writing or editing of a work or a group of related works of criticism or review pertaining to the genres of science fiction, fantasy, and horror. Proposed: Jeremy Byrne

Amendment: that the final phrase read "science fiction, fantasy, or horror." Moved: Peter Lyons Seconded: Terry Frost Accepted: Jeremy Byrne.

Discussion: The Atheling is supposed to be awarded for a specific piece of work, rather than eg. "for reviews". However, due to the paucity of critical material in the field, it has on occasion been awarded "for reviews" etc., or simply to a person for non-specific work, and such awards appear to have been contrary to the rules. While it is the case that when someone has produced a number of reviews in a single publication over the course of the year, nominators should be encouraged to pick one of the reviews to nominate, nevertheless there may be occasions when it is desirable to make the award for a group of connected works. The original wording "or related work" appears to have been a hold-over from when "related work" had a more definite meaning within sf awards, and the change (from "or related work" to "or a group of related works") repurposes this ambiguous wording to allow for the nomination of essay series, review series etc.

Seconded: Peter Lyons. Carried.

  • Motion

That section 5.4 be amended to read: 5.4 Appearance [-Order-] of finalists: Finalists shall be listed in randomised order. The content of listings is at the discretion of the committee. Proposed: Jeremy Byrne

Discussion: The committee needs the flexibility to decide when to say "et al" in a contributor listing, when to use subtitles and series titles, when to include publisher information etc.

Seconded: Emilly McLeay. Carried.

  • Motion

That section 7.0 ("The Physical Nature of the Trophy") be renamed to "Physical Awards", and be amended to read: 7.1 Finalists: Persons listed on the ballot, or responsible for works listed on the ballot, shall receive an A4 certificate detailing that achievement for each such listing. 7.2 Winners: Ditmar winners shall receive a standard trophy and an A4 certificate detailing that achievement for each win. (Trophies have frequently featured the 1:4:9 proportions of the monolith in the film "2001: A Space Odyssey" and a Southern Cross motif.) 7.3 The convention committee may make any other physical awards it deems fit. (Beginning in 2010, a pin has been awarded to each finalist.) Proposed: Jeremy Byrne

Discussion: This is a long-needed clarification on the requirements of Convention committees to provide specific items as part of their Ditmar responsibilities.

Seconded: Peter Lyons. Carried.

  • Motion

That section 8.0 (Appendix) of the rules be deleted. Proposed: Jeremy Byrne

Discussion: This cleans up the long-outstanding "Appendix" clause (the important aspect of which is moved into 7.2). The provisions in 8.1 have not received attention in a decade, and may be considered to have lapsed.

Seconded: Julian Warner. Carried.

8. General Business

  • A vote of thanks to Thomas Bull for being awesome, and for his works in putting together the Ditmar Eligilibility List and editing the wiki.

Moved: Julian Warner; seconded: Donna Maree Hanson; carried by acclamation.

  • Donna: Conflux would like to offer an incentive of some kind for Ditmar voting - all votes count as an entry for a prize draw. The meeting has no objection to this, and in fact quite likes the idea, and any way of increasing informed votes in the Ditmars.
  • Rose: A general reminder to all conventions in Australia that Vic SF Conventions is maintaining the surplus funds from Aussiecon 4. These funds are available as a grant; please apply to Rose Mitchell.

Meeting closed: 11:56