Tin Duck Nominations

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The Tin Duck Awards are the Western Australian science fiction achievement award. They are given out annually at Swancon and voted on by members of the convention.

WASFF By-laws (Regulations)


6.1 Awards called the Tin Duck Awards may be presented by each WA Science Fiction Convention.

6.2 Further By-Laws may be provided for these awards.

WASFF By-laws (Ordinary)


6.1 There shall be a subcommittee of the WA Regional Science Fiction Convention each year, known as the Tin Duck Awards Committee, which shall be responsible for the presentation of the Tin Duck Awards.

6.2 The categories of the Tin Ducks shall be discretionary upon the Tin Duck Awards Committee. (It is noted that awards have previously been given for the following categories:

  • Best WA Professional Writing, Long form and Short form
  • Best WA Non-professional Writing;
  • Best WA professional production in any medium;
  • Best WA non-professional production in any medium;
  • Best WA Visual Artwork; and
  • The Tin Duck Awards Committee Chair’s award.

6.3 The Tin Duck Awards committee shall pay due attention to both nominations and category suggestions.

6.4 A "No Award" option shall be available in each category.

6.5 Postal ballots shall be allowed until a closing date at the discretion of the Tin Duck Awards committee, which shall be no earlier than one week prior to the commencement of the convention and no later than the close of voting at the convention.”

6.6 Proxy voting shall not be allowed.

6.7 Completed ballots to be included in the voting may be delivered in person to the convention up to the closing time indicated by the Tin Duck Awards committee, which shall be at least 24 hours after the commencement of the convention.

6.8 An individual may only vote once in each category and the ballot must be signed.

6.9 The system used to determine the category winner shall be at the discretion of the Tin Duck Awards committee.

6.10 The period of eligibility shall be the calendar year prior to the convention.

6.11 No previously balloted work shall be eligible again in the same category.

6.12 The ballot must form part of the final pre-convention Progress Report or newsletter, but is not limited to such and must be made available on request after publication. Reasonable postage and handling may be charged to the requester.

6.13 Eligible voters for the Tin Duck Awards are members of the current WA Regional Science Fiction Convention, including attending and supporting memberships.

These by-laws set out the criteria for the Tin Ducks fairly well, but there is some additional information that is useful to know.

The 'Awards Committee' can be a committee of one, but it is often useful to have assistants to check eligibility – there are a few fans who can usually tell you straight away whether a work is eligible. Checking with a nominee is also a good idea.

Ensure you plan the timing of deadlines so that you can get nomination forms and ballot forms out in time. Consider when the last PR is going out.

There are 3 schools of thought with nominations: 1) one or more nominations is enough to get on to the ballot paper; 2) at least two nominations (a nominator and a seconder) are enough to get on to the ballot paper; 3) only the candidates with X (where X is 4-6) nominations get on to the ballot paper (don't forget to add No Award). From one year to the next there can be a wide variation in the number of candidates, each method has its pros and cons. Sometimes 'insufficient nominations' are used as the basis for not holding a ballot for a category or for merging categories. It is not seen as good form to ballot one nominee against No Award, even though it is allowable.

1) Pros: you have more nominees for people to vote for – which is important in a category with only a few nominations. Cons: you can get too many nominations and it can be seen as having too low an entry point for candidacy for the ballot

2) Pros: need more than someone nominating themselves. Cons: can still end up with too many on the ballot paper;

3) Pros: you end up with a nice ballot paper. Cons: might not get enough nominations, potentially excludes viable candidates, and turns the nomination process into a pseudo ballot – which it is not intended to be

Often a combination of 2 and 3 can be used to get the best result.

Ballot papers: either all papers on one page or if multiple pages are used, do not staple and do not span a page – this makes counting a nightmare. Consult the person(s) counting on how to design the ballot paper. Signing the back of the ballot paper works, if there is not enough room on the front. Usually, counting takes about 2-3 hours.

Don't forget to prepare the award 'trophy' enough ahead of time. Get an extra one in case of a tie. Don't forget certificates.

Awards often have controversy, especially if the Ditmars are held in conjunction – that is the nature of these awards. Take advice from people who have done it before.

It is not clear that the Tin Duck Awards Committee Chair’s award has ever been given. There was a Swancon Chairman’s award given by the con chair for extraordinary service to Swancon or fandom, but it is not thought to have been given since WASFF Chair's award and the Mumfan were introduced.

Marge Hughes Award (aka MumFan Award)

WASFF By-laws (Regulations): 7 MARGE HUGHES AWARD

7.1 The Marge Hughes (formerly the Mumfan award) will be made by WASFF at the WA Regional Science Fiction Convention.

7.2 The basis of the award is that: "The recipient of the Marge Hughes award should have given sustained support to fandom over a significant period of time without having received previous recognition for their contributions in this area".

7.3 The Board of WASFF shall pay due attention to nominations for the award.

7.4 The Board shall not be bound to make an award in the absence of appropriate nomination or nominations.

This award is about welcoming new fans and making fandom a community; being a do'er or a behind the scenes person, often a “quiet achiever” and not necessarily an organiser; and a person that gives, always helps when asked or volunteers with needing to be asked. It is about actively participating in fandom, that is, the fan community, and supporting the community. While is it Swancon focussed, it need not be for a Swancon regular. It is also about recognising the people who have not been previously recognised for this work before.

In the second to last meeting of the WASFF board the Chairperson asks board members to consider and bring any nominations for the MHA to the last board meeting. Sometimes potential candidates are discussed at that time, but no conclusions are drawn. Discussions are always 'in-camera'. Board members often informally canvas the community for nominations.

At the last board meeting before Swancon, the board considers any nominations. Rarely there are two candidates that are equally worthy and joint awards have been given.

There is a pro-forma certificate given with the con of the year's logo added.

Life Membership

WASFF By-laws (Life Members): (Listing of Life Members of WASFF in accordance with section 5.3) Grant Stone

This is about dedicating a good chunk of one's life to Swancon/WASFF. Grant Stone (circa 2000) is the bar.

Chairperson's Award

WASFF Bylaws (Ordinary): 10.1 The Chairperson may choose to make a "Chairperson’s Award" to a person or organisation that has made a significant contribution to WASFF or SwanCon. The award is intended to be occasional and more for contributions in being an organiser over a period of time.

This award need not be, but might become, an "outgoing Chairperson's award".

Silver Swan

WASFF Bylaws (Ordinary): 10.3 The Board may award a “Silver Swan” award for making an overwhelming contribution to WA Science Fiction Community. This award is intended to be very rare and only for the most exceptional achievements.

20 year badges

For having attended 20 Swancons. Being an event participant does not count, although being a guest of honour does. Purchasing a membership, but not attending does not count, although some discretion can be exercised. Due to lack of records, an honour system for eligibility is used.

33 year badges

For having attended 33 Swancons. (Hobbits come of age on their 33rd birthday.)

42 year badges

Proposed badge, not yet in place.

Fan Guest of Honour

While not strictly an award, historically most Swancons have a Fan as a Guest of Honour. The FGoH has their room and membership paid for by the con. The Fan is selected as one that has contributed to cons in a manner worthy of honouring and who can particulate in the programme on various panels/discussions. A FGoH is usually only honoured in this way once, although there have been some exceptions, so it not a hard and fast rule. A FGoH can have been a Marge Hughes recipient, but a previous FGoH will be unlikely to be eligible for the Marge Hughes award, because this is recognition for contribution to fandom. Technically it might be possible to have been a FGoH in recognition for one type of contribution and then later another type of contribution might make the person eligible for the Marge Hughes. However this very unlikely and not in the spirit of the Marge Hughes award recognising the ‘quiet achiever’.

See also

Administrating the Tin Ducks