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2011 Natcon BM minutes

This article includes the minutes of the NatCon Business Meeting conducted at Swancon in Perth in 2011, and accepted by the 2012 Business Meeting.


Natcon business meeting minutes 2011

Chair: David Cake Minute Taker: Emilly McLeay

Meeting Opened 9.35am

Present: Doug Burbidge, Jeremy Byrne, David Cake (chair), Alisa Krasnostein, Emilly McLeay (minute taker), Peter Lyons, Bill Wright, Damien Warman, Sue Ann Barber, David Webb, Amanda Rainey, Tom Eitelhuber, Trevor Clarke, Anna Hepworth

  • Confirmation of the Minutes of the Previous Meeting
    1. Last years minutes are on the wiki but are still in draft form
    2. Committee acknowledges that many sets of minutes are still technically in draft form
  • Business Arising from the Previous Meeting – will be discussed in General Business
    1. Consideration of the question of Australianess: committee has still not found consensus and wants to hear from the community
    2. Best Achievement Ditmar Category
  • Natcon Standing Committee Report
    1. The standing committee ran the Ditmars; considered Australianess; added some more minutes from previous meetings to the wiki. Still looking for Conflux (2004) minutes.
    2. The committee plan to establish a more efficient calendar for Ditmar running.
  • Site Selection for the 2013 National Convention
    • Motion: that the decision on site selection for the 2013 natcon be delegated to the standing committee and to report on this decision within 3 months. Moved: Jeremy, seconded Sue Ann, carried.
  • Ditmar sub-committee report - Jeremy
53 ballots contributed to the final results, including 1 postal and 9 at-con ballots. A further 9 ballots were found to have been cast by ineligible voters and excluded.
A number of irregularities involving accessibility and functionality of the online voting system were reported, and attributed to unexplained hosting or connectivity related issues. Additionally, programming oversights in the vote counting component were resolved with no impact on voting or results. In contrast to 2010, results were determined exclusively by the custom-written system. However, as the 2010 results from the custom system accorded exactly with those generated by a third-party crosschecking system, this was seen as only mildly sub-optimal.
Irregularities in the running of the Ditmars included a number of changes to the initially advertised ballot, the surprise provision of at-con voting, and the use of an incorrect version of the ballot for this purpose. However, a. the ballot change was announced after only eight ballots had been cast and all voters were contacted individually to explain this and offered the opportunity to adjust their votes; b. the results would not have varied substantially had the at-con voting not taken place (the only differences would have been the removal of one of the short story winners and the addition of co-winners in novella and fan writer categories); and c. the absence of the cover art for "Savage Menace and Other Poems of Horror" (Andrew J. McKiernan) from the at-con ballot (as well as the list of nominees announced at the ceremony), while regrettable, made no substantive difference to the result in the category, which was overwhelmingly won by "The Lost Thing".
While the fact that each member of the three-person core committee of the host convention won at least one award did attract some informal negative commentary, this was not seen as an irregularity. However, the eligibility of host committee members might be worth considering in future, in order to avoid any appearance of impropriety.
  • Additional notes:
    1. There were some software issues with the voting system that have now been fixed.
    2. A number of voters were excluded this year: our best theory is that these voters thought that they were eligible due to being members of Aussiecon.
    3. Some nominations were moved into more appropriate categories at the committee's discretion.
    4. The Atheling award is not for body of work, but specifically for one work. Several nominations were therefore ineligible. We need to better inform the community of the criteria of this award
    5. Eligibility decisions to be publicised.
  • Motion to accept the report: moved Peter, seconded Sue Ann, carried.
  • The meeting thanks the committee and particularly Jeremy, Peter and Terri for their hard work on the Ditmars.
  • Motion: The meeting instructs the standing committee to automate the nomination system. To the degree that it is possible! Moved Jeremy, seconded Peter, carried.
  • The meeting would like to extend a vote of thanks to Thomas Bull for significant work on the eligibility list. Moved Peter, seconded Jeremy, passed unanimously!
  • Convention reports
    • 2011 – Swancon – Alisa
      • We ran the con; 400 people came! We have had a lot of trouble with lack of communication etc about what a Natcon truly involves.
    • 2012 – Continuum – Emilly
      • Not actually announcing anything important until C7, but it is all in hand.
    • Thank you Swancon 2011 for running the natcon!
  • Selection of the Standing Committee
    • Current de jure members are Swancon 2011 rep, Terri Sellen, Continuum 2012, Emilly McLeay, and a vacant seat for the 2013 Natcon
    • Four general committee seats. Nominations: Dave Cake, Jeremy Byrne, Peter Lyons, Damien Warman. Elected unopposed.
  • General Business
    1. Australianess
      1. Permanent Resident is a strictly defined category under immigration law; too strict for our purposes.
        • Motion: that “Permanent Resident” be changed to “resident”. Moved Dave Cake, seconded Bill Wright, carried.
      2. Collected work: is the editor the person who needs to be Australian in order for a collected work to be eligible for a Ditmar? How do we define Australianess in these cases?
        • Motion: that the editor of a collected work be considered the creator of the work. Moved Dave, seconded Peter.
          • Damien spoke for: editing is a creative act which deserves recognition
          • Doug spoke against: the more we look at this problem, the more edge cases we find. This implies a bigger problem with the outlines of the issue.
          • Alisa spoke against: knowing the creative input of the various people involved in, eg, Glitter Rose, she would feel very uncomfortable personally winning an award for this work. It should be the work that wins the award.
        • Motion failed. The ditsubcom should consider each case on an adhoc basis.
    2. Nominations by people outside of fandom – we received some nominations from people who were not active in fandom. These nominations were disregarded and such nominations will continue to be so.
    3. The decisions that the subcommittee has made – eg disregarding nominations for Atheling for body of work – need to be disseminated to the community. We will publish these decisions. The discussion page of the Ditmar rules is one place for these annotations; a formal list of interpretations could also be added to the wiki.
    4. Artwork category: this year a number of book covers stood against a feature film, meaning voters had to pick one winner from a number of very unlike things. However there is not enough call to add a separate Production category.
      • Relatedly, another issue with considering unlike things in one category is the difference between art and design. With the removal of Best Achievement, there is no longer a way for design to be considered for the Ditmars.
        • Amanda spoke to say that she doesn't consider herself an artist, but a designer, and would resist having a category where art was competing with design for the same award.
        • Damien spoke to say that design can be art – and the rules as they stand can be interpreted to include design.
    5. Fanzine category:
      • Bill feels that the fanzine category ought to be reinstated, out of respect for a very large body of people whose fannish activity is no longer being recognised.
        • Fanzines are eligible in fan publication.
        • In order to get fanzines on the ballot, fanzine fans need to nominate and participate in the discussion; to make it easier for fanzine fans to be involved perhaps the ditsubcom can involve ASFF in publicising calls for nominations and the ballot itself.
        • Damien will volunteer to ensure that this publicity includes
    6. There needs to be more information about what the natcon is supposed to be doing to create a natcon, and what the standing committee can do to help the natcon concom.
      • The meeting directs ourselves to ensure a document detailing all cultural baggage and natcon traditions, to ensure that natcons know everything that will help.

Meeting closed 12.01pm