Chicon 2000

WSFS Constitution, Part 1

Rev. 02-Feb-2000
Previous: WSFS Business Meeting
(Table of Contents) Next: WSFS Constitution, Part 2

Pat McMurray,

This is the Constitution of the World Science Fiction Society.

An minor error in all posted copies of the WSFS constitution was discovered by Pat McMurray, secretary at the last two business meetings. Section 4.8 had paragraphs numbered 4.9.1, 4.9.2, etc., when they should have been numbered 4.8.1, 4.8.2, etc. These have been corrected here, with the consent of Pat McMurray.


of the World Science Fiction Society, September 1999


Article I - Name, Objectives, Membership, and Organization

Section 1.1: Name.
The name of this organization shall be the World Science Fiction Society, hereinafter referred to as WSFS or the Society.

Section 1.2: Objectives.
WSFS is an unincorporated literary society whose functions are:
(1) To choose the recipients of the annual Hugo Awards (Science Fiction Achievement Awards).
(2) To choose the locations and Committees for the annual World Science Fiction Conventions (hereinafter referred to as Worldcons).
(3) To attend those Worldcons.
(4) To choose the locations and Committees for the occasional North American Science Fiction Conventions (hereinafter referred to as NASFiCs).
(5) To perform such other activities as may be necessary or incidental to the above purposes.

Section 1.3: Restrictions.
No part of the Society's net earnings shall be paid to its members, officers, or other private persons except in furtherance of the Society's purposes. The Society shall not attempt to influence legislation or any political campaign for public office. Should the Society dissolve, its assets shall be distributed by the current Worldcon Committee or the appropriate court having jurisdiction, exclusively for charitable purposes. In this section, references to the Society include the Mark Protection Committee and all other agencies of the Society but not convention bidding or operating committees.

Section 1.4: Membership.
The Membership of WSFS shall consist of all people who have paid membership dues to the Committee of the current Worldcon.

Section 1.5: Memberships.
1.5.1: Each Worldcon shall offer supporting and attending memberships.
1.5.2: The rights of supporting members of a Worldcon include the right to receive all of its generally distributed publications.
1.5.3: The rights of attending members of a Worldcon include the rights of supporting members plus the right of general attendance at said Worldcon and at the WSFS Business Meeting held thereat.
1.5.4: Members of WSFS who cast a site-selection ballot with the required fee shall be supporting members of the selected Worldcon.
1.5.5: Voters have the right to convert to attending membership in the selected Worldcon within ninety (90) days of its selection, for an additional fee set by its committee. This fee must not exceed two (2) times the site-selection fee and must not exceed the difference between the site-selection fee and the fee for new attending members.
1.5.6: The Worldcon Committee shall make provision for persons to become supporting members for no more than one hundred and twenty-five percent (125%) of the site-selection fee, or such higher amount as has been approved by the Business Meeting, until a cutoff date no earlier than ninety (90) days before their Worldcon.
1.5.7: Other memberships and fees shall be at the discretion of the Worldcon Committee.

Section 1.6: Authority.
Authority and responsibility for all matters concerning the Worldcon, except those reserved herein to WSFS, shall rest with the Worldcon Committee, which shall act in its own name and not in that of WSFS.

Section 1.7: The Mark Protection Committee.
1.7.1: There shall be a Mark Protection Committee of WSFS, which shall be responsible for registration and protection of the marks used by or under the authority of WSFS.
1.7.2: The Mark Protection Committee shall submit to the Business Meeting at each Worldcon a report of its activities since the previous Worldcon, including a statement of income and expense.
1.7.3: The Mark Protection Committee shall hold a meeting at each Worldcon after the end of the Business Meeting, at a time and place announced at the Business Meeting.
1.7.4: The Mark Protection Committee shall determine and elect its own officers.

Section 1.8: Membership of the Mark Protection Committee.
1.8.1: The Mark Protection Committee shall consist of:
1: one (1) member appointed to serve at the pleasure of each future selected Worldcon Committee and each of the two (2) immediately preceding Worldcon Committees
2: one (1) member appointed to serve at the pleasure of each future selected NASFiC Committee and for each Committee of a NASFiC held in the previous two years, and
3: nine (9) members elected three (3) each year to staggered three-year terms by the Business Meeting.
1.8.2: No more than three elected members may represent any single North American region, as defined in Section 1.8.5. Each elected member shall represent the region (if any) in which the member resided at the time they were elected.
1.8.3: Newly elected members take their seats, and the term of office ends for elected and appointed members whose terms expire that year, at the end of the Business Meeting.
1.8.4: If vacancies occur in elected memberships in the Committee, the remainder of the position's term may be filled by the Business Meeting, and until then temporarily filled by the Committee.
1.8.5: To ensure equitable distribution of representation, North America is divided into three (3) regions as follows:
(1) Western: Baja California, New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Saskatchewan, and all states, provinces, and territories westward including Hawaii, Alaska, the Yukon, and the Northwest Territories.
(2) Central: Central America, the islands of the Caribbean, Mexico (except as above), and all states, provinces, and territories between the Western and Eastern regions.
(3) Eastern: Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York, Quebec, and all states, provinces, and territories eastward including the District of Columbia, St. Pierre et Miquelon, Bermuda, and the Bahamas.

Article II - Powers and Duties of Worldcon Committees

Section 2.1: Duties.
Each Worldcon Committee shall, in accordance with this Constitution, provide for
1: administering the Hugo Awards,
2: administering any future Worldcon or NASFiC site selection required, and
3: holding a WSFS Business Meeting.

Section 2.2: Marks.
Every Worldcon and NASFiC Committee shall include the following notice in each of its publications:
"World Science Fiction Society", "WSFS", "World Science Fiction Convention", "Worldcon", "NASFiC", and "Hugo Award" are service marks of the World Science Fiction Society, an unincorporated literary society.

Section 2.3: Official Representative.
Each future selected Worldcon Committee shall designate an official representative to the Business Meeting to answer questions about their Worldcon.

Section 2.4: Distribution of Rules.
The current Worldcon Committee shall print copies of the WSFS Constitution, together with an explanation of proposed changes approved but not yet ratified, and copies of the Standing Rules. The Committee shall distribute these documents to all WSFS members at a point between nine and three months prior to the Worldcon, and shall also distribute them to all WSFS members in attendance at the Worldcon upon registration.

Section 2.5: Bid Presentations.
Each Worldcon Committee shall provide a reasonable opportunity for bona fide bidding committees for the Worldcon to be selected the following year to make presentations.

Section 2.6: Incapacity of Committees.
With sites being selected three (3) years in advance, there are at least three selected current or future Worldcon Committees at all times. If one of these should be unable to perform its duties, the other selected current or future Worldcon Committee whose site is closer to the site of the one unable to perform its duties shall determine what action to take, by consulting the Business Meeting or by mail poll of WSFS if there is sufficient time, or by decision of the Committee if there is not sufficient time.

Section 2.7: Membership Pass-along.
Within ninety (90) days after a Worldcon, the administering Committee shall, except where prohibited by local law, forward its best information as to the names and postal addresses of all of its Worldcon members to the Committee of the next Worldcon.

Section 2.8: Financial Openness.
Any member of WSFS shall have the right, under reasonable conditions, to examine the financial records and books of account of the current Worldcon Committee, all future selected Worldcon Committees, and the two immediately preceding Worldcon Committees.

Section 2.9: Financial Reports.
2.9.1: Each future selected Worldcon Committee shall submit an annual financial report, including a statement of income and expenses, to each WSFS Business Meeting after the Committee's selection.
2.9.2: Each Worldcon Committee shall submit a report on its cumulative surplus/loss at the next Business Meeting after its Worldcon.
2.9.3: Each Worldcon Committee should dispose of surplus funds remaining after accounts are settled for the current Worldcon for the benefit of WSFS as a whole.
2.9.4: In the event of a surplus, the Worldcon Committee, or any alternative organizational entity established to oversee and disburse that surplus, shall file annual financial reports regarding the disbursement of that surplus at each year's Business Meeting, until the surplus is totally expended or an amount equal to the original surplus has been disbursed.

Article III - Hugo Awards

Section 3.1: Introduction.
Selection of the Hugo Awards shall be made as provided in this Article.

Section 3.2: General.
3.2.1: Unless otherwise specified, Hugo Awards are given for work in the field of science fiction or fantasy appearing for the first time during the previous calendar year.
3.2.2: A work originally appearing in a language other than English shall also be eligible for the year in which it is first issued in English translation. A work, once it has appeared in English, may thus be eligible only once.
3.2.3: Publication date, or cover date in the case of a dated periodical, takes precedence over copyright date.
3.2.4: Works appearing in a series are eligible as individual works, but the series as a whole is not eligible. However, a work appearing in a number of parts shall be eligible for the year of the final part.
3.2.5: In the written fiction categories, an author may withdraw a version of a work from consideration if the author feels that the version is not representative of what that author wrote.
3.2.6: The Worldcon Committee may relocate a story into a more appropriate category if it feels that it is necessary, provided that the length of the story is within the lesser of five thousand (5,000) words or twenty percent (20%) of the new category limits.
3.2.7: The Worldcon Committee is responsible for all matters concerning the Awards.

Section 3.3: Categories.
3.3.1: Best Novel. A science fiction or fantasy story of forty thousand (40,000) words or more.
3.3.2: Best Novella. A science fiction or fantasy story of between seventeen thousand five hundred (17,500) and forty thousand (40,000) words.
3.3.3: Best Novelette. A science fiction or fantasy story of between seven thousand five hundred (7,500) and seventeen thousand five hundred (17,500) words.
3.3.4: Best Short Story. A science fiction or fantasy story of less than seven thousand five hundred (7,500) words.
3.3.5: Best Related Book. Any work whose subject is related to the field of science fiction, fantasy, or fandom, appearing for the first time in book form during the previous calendar year, and which is either non-fiction or, if fictional, is noteworthy primarily for aspects other than the fictional text.
3.3.6: Best Dramatic Presentation. Any production in any medium of dramatized science fiction, fantasy or related subjects which has been publicly presented for the first time in its present dramatic form during the previous calendar year.
3.3.7: Best Professional Editor. The editor of any professional publication devoted primarily to science fiction or fantasy during the previous calendar year. A professional publication is one which had an average press run of at least ten thousand (10,000) copies per issue.
3.3.8: Best Professional Artist. An illustrator whose work has appeared in a professional publication in the field of science fiction or fantasy during the previous calendar year.
3.3.9: Best Semiprozine. Any generally available non-professional publication devoted to science fiction or fantasy which by the close of the previous calendar year has published four (4) or more issues, at least one (1) of which appeared in the previous calendar year, and which in the previous calendar year met at least two (2) of the following criteria:
1: had an average press run of at least one thousand (1000) copies per issue,
2: paid its contributors and/or staff in other than copies of the publication,
3: provided at least half the income of any one person,
4: had at least fifteen percent (15%) of its total space occupied by advertising,
5: announced itself to be a semiprozine.
3.3.10: Best Fanzine. Any generally available non-professional publication devoted to science fiction, fantasy, or related subjects which by the close of the previous calendar year has published four (4) or more issues, at least one (1) of which appeared in the previous calendar year, and which does not qualify as a semiprozine.
3.3.11: Best Fan Writer. Any person whose writing has appeared in semiprozines or fanzines or in generally available electronic media during the previous calendar year.
3.3.12: Best Fan Artist. An artist or cartoonist whose work has appeared through publication in semiprozines or fanzines or through other public display during the previous calendar year. Any person whose name appears on the final Hugo Awards ballot for a given year under the Professional Artist category shall not be eligible in the Fan Artist category for that year.
3.3.13: Additional Category. Not more than one special category may be created by the current Worldcon Committee with nomination and voting to be the same as for the permanent categories. The Worldcon Committee is not required to create any such category; such action by a Worldcon Committee should be under exceptional circumstances only; and the special category created by one Worldcon Committee shall not be binding on following Committees. Awards created under this paragraph shall be considered to be Hugo Awards.

Section 3.4: Extended Eligibility.
In the event that a potential Hugo Award nominee receives extremely limited distribution in the year of its first publication or presentation, its eligibility may be extended for an additional year by a three fourths (3/4) vote of the intervening Business Meeting of WSFS.

Section 3.5: Name and Design.
The Hugo Award shall continue to be standardized on the rocket ship design of Jack McKnight and Ben Jason. Each Worldcon Committee may select its own choice of base design. The name (Hugo Award) and the design shall not be extended to any other award.

Section 3.6: "No Award".
At the discretion of an individual Worldcon Committee, if the lack of nominations or final votes in a specific category shows a marked lack of interest in that category on the part of the voters, the Award in that category shall be canceled for that year.

Section 3.7: Nominations.
3.7.1: The Worldcon Committee shall conduct a poll to select the nominees for the final Award voting. Each member of either the administering or the immediately preceding Worldcon as of January 31 of the current calendar year shall be allowed to make up to five (5) equally weighted nominations in every category.
3.7.2: The Committee shall include with each nomination ballot a copy of Article III of the WSFS Constitution.
3.7.3: Nominations shall be solicited only for the Hugo Awards and the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer.

Section 3.8: Tallying of Nominations.
3.8.1: Except as provided below, the final Award ballots shall list in each category the five eligible nominees receiving the most nominations. If there is a tie including fifth place, all the tied eligible nominees shall be listed.
3.8.2: The Worldcon Committee shall determine the eligibility of nominees and assignment to the proper category of nominees nominated in more than one category.
3.8.3: Any nominations for "No Award" shall be disregarded.
3.8.4: If a nominee appears on a nomination ballot more than once in any one category, only one nomination shall be counted in that category.
3.8.5: No nominee shall appear on the final Award ballot if it received fewer nominations than five percent (5%) of the number of ballots listing one or more nominations in that category, except that the first three eligible nominees, including any ties, shall always be listed.

Section 3.9: Notification and Acceptance.
Worldcon Committees shall use reasonable efforts to notify the nominees, or in the case of deceased or incapacitated persons, their heirs, assigns, or legal guardians, in each category prior to the release of such information. Each nominee shall be asked at that time to either accept or decline the nomination. If the nominee declines nomination, that nominee shall not appear on the final ballot.

Section 3.10: Voting.
3.10.1: Final Award voting shall be by mail, with ballots sent only to WSFS members. Final Award ballots shall include name, signature, address, and membership-number spaces to be filled in by the voter.
3.10.2: Final Award ballots shall list only the Hugo Awards and the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer.
3.10.3: "No Award" shall be listed in each category of Hugo Award on the final ballot.
3.10.4: The Committee shall, on or with the final ballot, designate, for each nominee in the printed fiction categories, one or more books, anthologies, or magazines in which the nominee appeared (including the book publisher or magazine issue date(s)).
3.10.5: Voters shall indicate the order of their preference for the ' nominees in each category.

Section 3.11: Tallying of Votes.
3.11.1: In each category, votes shall first be tallied by the voter's first choices. If no majority is then obtained, the nominee who places last in the initial tallying shall be eliminated and the ballots listing it as first choice shall be redistributed on the basis of those ballots' second choices. This process shall be repeated until a majority-vote winner is obtained.
3.11.2: No Award shall be given whenever the total number of valid ballots cast for a specific category (excluding those cast for "No Award" in first place) is less than twenty-five percent (25%) of the total number of final Award ballots received.
3.11.3: After a tentative winner is determined, then unless "No Award" shall be the winner, the following additional test shall be made. If the number of ballots preferring "No Award" to the tentative winner is greater than the number of ballots preferring the tentative winner to "No Award", then "No Award" shall be declared the winner of the election.
3.11.4: The complete numerical vote totals, including all preliminary tallies for first, second, ... places, shall be made public by the Worldcon Committee within ninety (90) days after the Worldcon. During the same period the nomination voting totals shall also be published, including in each category the vote counts for at least the fifteen highest vote-getters and any other candidate receiving a number of votes equal to at least five percent (5%) of the nomination ballots cast in that category.

Section 3.12: Exclusions.
No member of the current Worldcon Committee nor any publications closely connected with a member of the Committee shall be eligible for an Award. However, should the Committee delegate all authority under this Article to a Subcommittee whose decisions are irrevocable by the Worldcon Committee, then this exclusion shall apply to members of the Subcommittee only.

Section 3.13: Retrospective Hugos.
A Worldcon held 50, 75, or 100 years after a Worldcon at which no Hugos were presented may conduct nominations and elections for Hugos which would have been presented at that previous Worldcon. Procedures shall be as for the current Hugos. Categories receiving insufficient numbers of nominations may be dropped. Once retrospective Hugos have been awarded for a Worldcon, no other Worldcon shall present retrospective Hugos for that Worldcon.

... Continued

Previous: WSFS Business Meeting
(Table of Contents) Next: WSFS Constitution, Part 2

Top | Table of Contents | What's New | Register | Help