Author Topic: The British Fantasy Awards Constitution - updated with amendments  (Read 15097 times)

Offline Rolnikov

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As I just mentioned in another thread, I've joined Guy on the BFA committee to take care of the voting procedure, collation, etc of the British Fantasy Awards. Having set up online voting forms for next year, the next job was to produce an updated BFA constitution, taking into account the changes to categories and procedure introduced by the awards administrator last September (with the committee's support), as well as various related issues the committee has thrashed out over the last eleven months.

Having done that, I put the updated BFA constitution to a vote of the committee, and it's been approved. It can be found here. I also put four brand new amendments to a vote of the committee, three of which were voted in:

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The Awards Committee has no discretion to discount recommendations and votes for reasons other than those set out in this constitution.

This should help to ensure consistency between one awards administrator and the next, by making sure that no unwritten, invisible rules are being applied: all the rules must be in the constitution, and therefore open to debate, discussion, criticism and amendment by the membership.

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Changes to this constitution may only be made (1) by a vote at the AGM of the British Fantasy Society, taken according to the same rules of procedure outlined in the BFS constitution, or (2) by a formal vote of the committee of the British Fantasy Society. A committee vote may not be used to reverse a decision made at an AGM. An AGM vote may reverse a committee decision, but the committee decision remains effective until the current awards have been presented. The online version of the constitution must be updated at the earliest opportunity with any changes made, and any significant changes should be notified to the membership through Prism.

If members don't like a rule, you need a way to change it! The BFA constitution previously left open the question of how changes were to be made to it - in the past they've been made variously by AGM vote, committee decision and awards admin decision. I felt it was important to formalise the way changes could be made, but also to establish that members should have the ultimate say.

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In the event of a tie at this stage, third choice votes for the tied items will be discounted. If this does not separate them, second choice votes for the tied items will be discounted. If the items cannot be separated in this way, both will go through to the shortlist. However, if two items from the same writer are tied, the writer will be given the choice of which should go through.

That one is just a minor bit of admin with regard to compiling the shortlist.

I'm sure there are going to be things in the updated constitution that members don't like, and things you think are missing, but please don't see this document as something that is set in stone. My main goal here was to write down the changes that were been decided on last September, so that going into the AGM members had a concrete document which they could criticise, suggest amendments to, and so on. It's a statement of where the Awards procedure stands now, but what happens in the future is up to you.

If you'd like to suggest a change, either send your suggested amendment to bfsawards@britishfantasysociety.org to be discussed and voted on by the committee, or send it in writing to the chair (chair@britishfantasysociety.org), to be added to the agenda and voted on at the AGM in September. If possible, please provide the actual wording that you would want added to the constitution if the proposal succeeds.
« Last Edit: October 08, 2011, 05:29:00 PM by Stephen Theaker »

Offline Rolnikov

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Re: The British Fantasy Awards Constitution - updated with amendments
« Reply #1 on: August 15, 2009, 05:51:09 PM »
The fourth of my suggested amendments has now been voted in by the committee as well.  :)

It sets out a procedure for deciding a tie:

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In the event of a tie at this stage, the number of points gathered by each item at the longlist stage will be used to decide between them. If that does not separate them, third choice votes for the tied items at the longlist stage will be discounted. If this does not separate them, second choice votes for the tied items at the longlist stage will be discounted. If the items cannot be separated in this way, they will be announced as joint winners.

This replaces the previous text:

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In the event of a tie, the BFS, FantasyCon and Awards Committees will consult with experts to determine final placings.

When that text was put into the constitution, there wasn't a previous round of voting to use for tie-breaks - now that there is it seems sensible to use it. Effectively it means that if the second round ends on a tie, we revert to deciding the category in more or less the way every category would have been decided in previous years, which I think is a nice nod to the past.

There was substantial support on the committee for the idea of simply announcing joint winners in the event of a tie, but the potential cost of additional statues, and the difficulty of having them made in time, was thought to be too great - probably why the awards have been at pains to avoid joint winners in the past.

Offline Rolnikov

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Re: The British Fantasy Awards Constitution - updated with amendments
« Reply #2 on: September 20, 2009, 11:19:20 PM »
At the 2009 AGM members of the BFS voted for a change to the constitution of the British Fantasy Awards: to be eligible for the British Fantasy Awards, television programmes must have been legally viewable (by any means) in the United Kingdom during the relevant year.

Offline Rolnikov

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Changes to the awards constitution following the 2012 AGM
« Reply #3 on: October 16, 2012, 12:09:04 PM »
At the AGM of 30 September 2012 a successful proposal was made by Ramsey Campbell to entirely separate the best horror and fantasy novel awards. Below I set out the changes I'm planning to make to the awards constitution (which you can read here) in order to implement the proposal. If you spot any problems, let me know. Thanks!

I plan to delete this sentence from the constitution, which would now be incorrect, and redundant (there are now two categories not one, and they will be listed along with all the others, so no need for a separate mention here):

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In the category of Best Novel there shall be one award for Best Fantasy Novel and one award for Best Horror Novel.

I also plan to delete this sentence, which is now redundant (a book will either reach one novel shortlist, the other, or both - I can't imagine a scenario in which an author's choice of genre could come into play):

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(*In the event of a dispute over genre category, definition shall rest with the author.)

And this:

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Novel  The August Derleth Award for Best Horror Novel and The Robert Holdstock Award for Best Fantasy Novel.
 
Eligibility: fiction over 40,000 words published for the first time in the English language in any part of the world in any format during the relevant year.

Shall become this:

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Fantasy Novel (The Robert Holdstock Award)
 
Eligibility: fiction over 40,000 words published for the first time in the English language in any part of the world in any format during the relevant year.

Horror Novel (The August Derleth Award)
 
Eligibility: fiction over 40,000 words published for the first time in the English language in any part of the world in any format during the relevant year.
« Last Edit: December 06, 2013, 11:38:28 PM by Stephen Theaker »

Offline Rolnikov

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Re: Changes to the awards constitution following the 2012 AGM
« Reply #4 on: October 27, 2012, 01:21:44 PM »
Okay, there haven't been any objections, so the successful proposal has been implemented as set out above.

The updated awards constitution can be seen here.

The previous awards constitution (9 December 2011 to 30 September 2012) is still available for reference here.
« Last Edit: December 06, 2013, 11:26:44 PM by Stephen Theaker »

Offline Rolnikov

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Re: The British Fantasy Awards Constitution - updated with amendments
« Reply #5 on: December 23, 2012, 11:51:41 AM »
I thought it might be a good idea to resurrect this thread for keeping track of awards rule changes in one place. I'll merge one or two relevant threads into this one. The changes listed in the 2009 posts to this thread were all more or less undone (sadly!) when the rules were rewritten in 2011, but still useful to have a record of them and why they were made here.

Anyway, two changes were made to the BFA rules at the EGM on 7 December 2012.

Following a proposal by Allen Ashley, this text was added to the rules:

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Where practicable, the awards administrator will allow and encourage members, publishers and other interested parties to contribute to a list of eligible items, to be made available online before voting begins.

Following a proposal by Lee Harris, this text:

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The Awards Administrator may not be associated (either by writing, publishing or editing) with work nominated in any category.

was replaced with:

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The Awards Administrator may not own or part-own any works shortlisted in any category. Where the Awards Administrator is associated (either by writing, publishing or editing) a work shortlisted in any category, the Awards Administrator will declare this association to the committee, who will independently verify the votes placed for that work, and that work's eligibility to be shortlisted.

The updated awards constitution can be seen here.

The constitution that applied from 30 September 2012 to 7 December 2012 can be seen here.
« Last Edit: December 06, 2013, 11:25:14 PM by Stephen Theaker »

Offline Rolnikov

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Re: The British Fantasy Awards Constitution - updated with amendments
« Reply #6 on: February 03, 2013, 10:57:47 AM »
A couple of points regarding this year's awards, things I think it's important to set down in advance, since once votes are coming the awards admin could be accused of deciding on a system that gives the particular results they're after.

1. The current rules say that "Each member may put forward up to three Recommendations in any category, expressed in preferential order." But what effect those preferences will have isn't spelt out, and when the rule was proposed the proposers made a point of saying they didn't want to tie the awards administrator's hands. So: I will be giving all votes equal weight, but in the event of a tie third place votes for tied items will be disregarded, then second place votes. I think this is what happened last year, and it seems sensible to me. If it leads to too many ties or produces other problems, I will consider a different approach for next year.

2. Last time I was doing this, the rule against voting for your own work only applied to the recommendations stage, and I interpreted it quite strictly (i.e. I didn't accept recommendations for an anthology from someone whose story appeared in that anthology). Now that the rule applies instead to the actual voting stage, I think it would be unfair to interpret it so strictly. So votes for work on which you are the named author, editor, publisher, artist, etc won't be accepted, but votes for projects to which you've merely contributed will be.

Voting will begin this week. If anyone has any thoughts on the above, or wants anything else clarified in advance, please ask here, or email (stephen.theaker@gmail.com) or PM me.

Offline Rolnikov

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Re: The British Fantasy Awards Constitution - updated with amendments
« Reply #7 on: February 21, 2013, 05:18:04 PM »
A small update on the small press award: PS Publishing are still happy to award a cash prize to the winner of the small press award, but they no longer wish to choose the jury.

Unfortunately, it's written into the rules that they do, but the sensible approach is I think to regard that part of the rules as ineffective this year, rather than not make the award at all. And Pete Crowther has suggested that if I'm concerned about sticking within the letter of the rules, I should just regard him as having delegated the job of picking the jury to me and the BFS committee, which seems to me a good way of looking at it.

For the next AGM I'll propose a tidying-up amendment to have that sentence deleted from the rules.

Offline Rolnikov

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Re: The British Fantasy Awards Constitution - updated with amendments
« Reply #8 on: December 06, 2013, 11:19:41 PM »
The awards constitution has now been updated to take account of the two minor changes made at the AGM of 2 November 2013.

The tidying up amendment mentioned above was passed, and so the phrase  "*Special jury to be appointed by PS publishing." has now been deleted from the constitution.

The second proposal passed was to amend Best Screenplay to Best Film/Television Episode, the award still going to the writer. So the heading "Screenplay" has been replaced with the heading "Film/Television Episode". In the eligibility section for that award the phrase "a screenplay for TV, film or electronic broadcast" has been amended to "a TV broadcast, film or electronic broadcast", and the phrase "Awarded to the writer." has been added.
« Last Edit: December 07, 2013, 12:44:38 AM by Stephen Theaker »

Offline Rolnikov

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Re: The British Fantasy Awards Constitution - updated with amendments
« Reply #9 on: January 04, 2014, 11:49:43 AM »
PS Publishing no longer wish to sponsor the best small press award, so there won't be a cheque for the winner this time. I will propose an amendment at next year's AGM to have their name removed from the award's title in the constitution. Their decision to withdraw from contention for the award stands.

Offline Des Lewis

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Re: The British Fantasy Awards Constitution - updated with amendments
« Reply #10 on: January 04, 2014, 01:01:56 PM »
PS Publishing no longer wish to sponsor the best small press award, so there won't be a cheque for the winner this time. I will propose an amendment at next year's AGM to have their name removed from the award's title in the constitution. Their decision to withdraw from contention for the award stands.

Will it still be known as 'The PS Publishing Independent Press Award' until an AGM proposal is successful in changing it?
« Last Edit: January 04, 2014, 01:09:42 PM by Des Lewis »
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Re: The British Fantasy Awards Constitution - updated with amendments
« Reply #11 on: January 04, 2014, 01:55:03 PM »
PS Publishing no longer wish to sponsor the best small press award, so there won't be a cheque for the winner this time. I will propose an amendment at next year's AGM to have their name removed from the award's title in the constitution. Their decision to withdraw from contention for the award stands.

Will it still be known as 'The PS Publishing Independent Press Award' until an AGM proposal is successful in changing it?


Personally, the BFS should make an executive decision and remove PS's name from it forthwith -- no pay no name, so to speak.

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Re: The British Fantasy Awards Constitution - updated with amendments
« Reply #12 on: January 04, 2014, 02:00:00 PM »
It will still be the PS Publishing Award until the constitution is changed. But they have asked us not to use that label, and so we won't.

Offline Rolnikov

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Re: The British Fantasy Awards Constitution - updated with amendments
« Reply #13 on: September 08, 2014, 01:15:47 AM »
The following three changes made by the AGM have now been made to the British Fantasy Awards constitution, which you can see here. As ever, if you have any questions, spot any mistakes, or think I've misinterpreted a proposal, please let me know. More information about all of these proposals can be found here.

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Changing: “Changes to these guidelines may only be made by a vote at the AGM of the British Fantasy Society, taken according to the same rules of procedure outlined in the BFS constitution” to: “Changes to this constitution may only be made by a vote at the AGM of the British Fantasy Society, taken according to the same rules of procedure outlined in the BFS constitution, with one exception: proposed amendments to the awards constitution must be put in writing and forwarded to the awards administrator rather than the chair”.

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If a sponsor of the British Fantasy Awards withdraws from sponsoring one (or more) of the awards, the name of said sponsor will immediately be removed from that award.

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I would like to change Stephen Theaker's proposal to use the words "independent press" rather than "small press" [and then propose it myself].

My failed proposal was:

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Changing “The PS Publishing Independent Press Award” back to “Small Press”.

So (also leaving out the word 'back', because it hasn't gone by this name before, as far as I know) that gives us:

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Changing “The PS Publishing Independent Press Award” to “Independent Press”.

Offline Rolnikov

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Re: The British Fantasy Awards Constitution - updated with amendments
« Reply #14 on: November 08, 2015, 07:29:08 AM »
The awards constitution has now been updated to reflect the Gary Couzens proposal that passed at the AGM 2015.

Because the title change and eligibility rules put forward wouldn't in themselves carry the main point of Gary's proposal into the constitution, I have added to the eligibility criteria the words: "Television seasons, miniseries or serials may be considered as a whole, if all written by one writer or the same team of writers. For multipart works eligible under this, the eligibility is for the calendar year of the broadcast or other distribution of the final episode." Also, where the proposal said "It would not apply", I've changed to the present tense: "It does not apply".

On this version of the constitution I've also removed the random "5" that preceded the heading "Voting Procedure", which seems to have been just copied across from the 2011 proposal, and a handful of asterisks that preceded the notes about specific jury rules.