Date: 2018-07-23 04:50 pm (UTC)
po8crg: A cartoon of me, wearing a panama hat (Default)
From: [personal profile] po8crg
There's no really good reason why Supporting members couldn't participate in Business Meetings - combine a livestream and a remotely logged-in voting system (and the ability to speak over an audio-livestream remotely).

Even if that tech is too hard (and bear in mind that they regularly fail to manage live-streaming the Hugo Awards, which should be a much simpler setup) they could set up a proper proxy voting approach. Clearly not every vote is set out in advance (people can rewrite the proposals in the middle of the meeting) so you couldn't just designate the votes in advance (and there's no point in having a debate if everyone has voted in advance) but you could award a proxy to someone that you trust who is attending the meeting. The fact that this doesn't seem to have been proposed in 50-odd years is suspicious (they could even have a rule that Attending members physically at the conference can't have a proxy so someone can't just collect proxies in the bar and walk in with a block vote that outvotes everyone actually in the room).

One of the problems with sorting out the online stuff is that there isn't a "they" - there isn't a permanent official group responsible, but each worldcon is independent of the others. This doesn't stop a concom deciding to set up a permanent system for registration, Hugo voting and site selection voting but it does mean that they can't force following cons to use it. If you wanted to do this properly, a bid would need to build this before they won and enable it the instant they won so they could go to the bids for the following year and sell them on the system (ie before they build their own registration system). Either that, or it would need to be done outside of the concom/bidding system and separately crowdfunded.

It would also enable members have their memberships of various worldcons connected together properly (I don't know how many times I've had to chase to make sure that an Advance Supporting gets converted properly to a Supporting so I can buy an upgrade to Attending or cast a Hugo vote or nomination). If done right, it could even allow people to buy pre-supporting memberships (the ones you get to support a bid, which convert into a supporting-to-attending upgrade if the bid wins) for serious bids, which would also make it much clearer what bids were about and how they were doing.
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