WSFS Constitution, Part 1
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
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
- 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
- (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
- (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
- 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
- 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
Article II - Powers and Duties of Worldcon Committees
Article III - Hugo Awards
- Section 2.1: Duties.
- Each Worldcon Committee shall, in accordance with this Constitution,
- 1: administering the Hugo Awards,
- 2: administering any future Worldcon or NASFiC site selection
- 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
- Section 2.3: Official Representative.
- Each future selected Worldcon Committee shall designate an official
representative to the Business Meeting to answer questions about their
- 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
- 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
- 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.
- 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
- 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)
- 3.3.3: Best Novelette. A science fiction or fantasy story of between
seven thousand five hundred (7,500) and seventeen thousand five hundred
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
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