Author Topic: AGM 2014 and awards proposals  (Read 11379 times)

Offline Rolnikov

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AGM 2014 and awards proposals
« on: August 28, 2014, 01:50:28 PM »
This year’s AGM is to be held in the The Royal York Hotel, York, YO24 1AA on Sunday, 7 September 2014, at 11.00am. All BFS members are welcome and encouraged to attend, whether or not you are also going to FantasyCon. FantasyCon attendees can also come to the AGM, but cannot vote.
 
I will be standing for the post of awards administrator again this year, but I would encourage anyone who thinks it's time for a change to stand against me, so that I can either (a) crush them in the election and rule forever or (b) be crushed by them in the election and relax while they do all the work next year. Either is fine! To stand for election, attend the AGM, where you will need to be nominated and seconded, and a vote will be called. I will be happy to nominate anyone who wishes to stand against me. You must be a fully paid-up member of the BFS to stand. If you wish to stand, but are unable to attend, please email chair@britishfantasysociety.org indicating your interest.

I am putting two awards proposals to the AGM:

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

REASON: PS Publishing’s sponsorship of the award came to an end.

Quote
PROPOSAL: 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”.

REASON: So that the procedure runs smoothly. The awards admin will know how awards proposals should be treated under the rules, and will be able to advise the proposer, for example, of any unintended consequences of their proposal so that the proposer has time to knock it into shape before the AGM.

There is also a proposal from Peter Coleborn:

Quote
PROPOSAL: 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.

REASON: To avoid the situation where a sponsor steps down but their name is locked into the awards constitution until the next AGM.

Though there was a lot of debate earlier in this year, no other awards proposals have been sent in writing to the chair. (Or hadn't been yet, last time I checked.) If you want to propose a rule change, time is running out.

Proposals to change the awards rules must be provided in writing to the chair. You do not have to run any proposals by me before the AGM, and you have the right to put proposals to the AGM in exactly the form you prefer (time allowing). We don’t get to filter your proposals. However, if you do have a proposal, running it by me first might help give it the best chance of passing, because I’ll be able to advise you, for example, on any practical issues the AGM might raise. It’s very helpful if, when proposing a change, you provide the precise form of words that you would like to be added to the constitution, so that it is absolutely and utterly clear to the AGM exactly what it is they are voting on. If you’re not sure how to go about this, I’ll be happy to help with the phrasing. Even if I don't support a particular proposal, it’s better for everyone if it’s clearly set out.

One other change I plan to make for 2015 is to allow foreign language films and television programmes to be be eligible again, as they were previously. I don’t believe this requires a change in the rules. After the December 2011 rule changes the question came up, and the awards administrator ruled them ineligible, correctly in my view, given the rules as they stood at that time; plus, you can’t judge the quality of a foreign-language script by its English subtitles. However, now that the award is once again for the programme or film itself rather than just the script, I think it’s appropriate to regard a subtitled release as having been “released in the English language”, as we did previously (e.g. Let the Right One In won Best Film in 2010).

Hope that's all okay. My email address for comments on any of the above is bfsawards@britishfantasysociety.org, but feel free to ask questions here too. I'll update this post with any new information.

The current awards constitution is here: http://www.britishfantasysociety.org/the-british-fantasy-awards-constitution-ii/
« Last Edit: August 28, 2014, 05:39:16 PM by Stephen Theaker »

Offline Peter Coleborn

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Re: AGM 2014 and awards proposals
« Reply #1 on: August 28, 2014, 05:32:22 PM »
There is also a proposal from Peter Coleborn (though it dates from January, so I’ve emailed to double check he still wants it on the agenda)

Quote
PROPOSAL: 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.

REASON: [I’ll ask Peter for his own wording if it's on the agenda, but essentially to avoid the situation where a sponsor steps down but their name is locked into the awards constitution until the next AGM.]

Your wording is fine, Stephen. Thanks.

Offline Rolnikov

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Re: AGM 2014 and awards proposals
« Reply #2 on: August 28, 2014, 05:38:25 PM »
Thanks - amended the post to take that into account.

Offline CarolineC

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Re: AGM 2014 and awards proposals
« Reply #3 on: August 28, 2014, 06:09:26 PM »
Has no-one put forward a proposal to have an award named in Joel Lane's honour? I know there was much debate about this possibility earlier in the year. I'm no longer a BFS member so can't put forward any proposals myself. I hope some of Joel's friends - who *are* members - see this and can put a proposal forward if it's still desired.
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Offline Rolnikov

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Re: AGM 2014 and awards proposals
« Reply #4 on: August 28, 2014, 06:45:40 PM »
Has no-one put forward a proposal to have an award named in Joel Lane's honour?

No, not as far as I know.

Offline Rolnikov

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Re: AGM 2014 and awards proposals
« Reply #5 on: September 02, 2014, 11:33:22 AM »
If any BFS members want to make an awards proposal at this weekend's AGM, but still haven't done so, I'd suggest copying the secretary James Dunn (secretary@britishfantasysociety.org) in on your email notifying the chair of your proposal. (James is putting together the agenda.)

Offline James_Dunn

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Re: AGM 2014 and awards proposals
« Reply #6 on: September 02, 2014, 11:35:54 AM »
Hi all - if you could let me know by Thursday evening at the latest, I can include the proposal in the body of the agenda.

Offline Rolnikov

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Re: AGM 2014 and awards proposals
« Reply #7 on: September 07, 2014, 11:34:26 PM »
Here's what happened with the awards proposals at the AGM:

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

REASON: PS Publishing’s sponsorship of the award came to an end.

RESULT: This proposal of mine failed, because of a dislike for the term "small press". I was told this had been debated previously at the AGM. It was suggested that a vote in favour of "independent press" had preceded PS Publishing's sponsorship of the award, but now I've been able to check against past constitutions and AGM minutes, I think the actual vote happened at the 2011 AGM.

Quote
PROPOSAL: 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”.

RESULT: This proposal of mine passed.

Quote
PROPOSAL: 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.

RESULT: This proposal from Peter Coleborn passed. At present it's redundant - after the success of Allen Ashley's proposal below there are no sponsors named in the constitution, and there are no plans to add any - but the proposer said in email discussion that he has future possible sponsors in mind.

Quote
PROPOSAL: I would like to change Stephen Theaker's proposal to use the words "independent press" rather than "small press".

This proposal from the floor was presented to the meeting's chair in writing by Allen Ashley. My proposal had already failed, so changing it wouldn't have had any effect, but the AGM was really being asked to vote on a version of my proposal with those words amended, so for the purposes of updating the awards constitution I'm going to take the proposal to have been:

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

RESULT: This proposal passed. Independent press isn't an exact synonym for small press, of course, it's a much wider category, so that will have an effect on eligibility for the award from now on.

I'll update the awards constitution to reflect these changes in the week or two.

Offline Allen

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Re: AGM 2014 and awards proposals
« Reply #8 on: September 08, 2014, 07:36:21 PM »
Stephen, I only wanted the term "Independent Press" to be maintained and that's how it turned out. Peter had it right that we can't continue calling an award by a sponsor's name once that sponsorship has ceased. Who now remembers the Rumbelows Cup in football?
The generosity of PS over the term of their sponsorship should be recorded and noted.
I am surprised you haven't  said anything about proxy voting - or is that on another thread?

Offline Rolnikov

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Re: AGM 2014 and awards proposals
« Reply #9 on: September 09, 2014, 07:35:27 AM »
The AGM didn't like my proposal and so it failed, the AGM liked your proposal and so it succeeded. That's fine, that's how it's supposed to work. As a member, I'm disappointed of course that my proposal didn't pass, and unhappy that we will not have an award for best small press, because I think the small press is important. But as the awards administrator I implement the rules I'm given, and I must admit I'm intrigued by the implications of having an independent press award instead. For example, some members voted this year for Undertow Press, but it'll be ruled ineligible in future (it's an imprint of ChiZine Publications, not an independent press).

In answer to your question about proxy voting, yes, I've discussed it elsewhere - this is a thread in the British Fantasy Awards board for discussing awards proposals in a bit more depth. Other AGM matters, including the proxy voting proposal, are discussed in the AGM 2014 thread. I've also added a note about the introduction of proxy voting to the thread Postal and electronic or proxy voting at the AGM, which was the discussion that prompted the development of the proposal. There's a news item about it on the website, Constitutional changes, and the BFS constitution itself has been updated with the new section.
« Last Edit: September 09, 2014, 08:55:34 AM by Stephen Theaker »

Offline DavidJHowe

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Re: AGM 2014 and awards proposals
« Reply #10 on: September 09, 2014, 04:40:08 PM »
For example, some members voted this year for Undertow Press, but it'll be ruled ineligible in future (it's an imprint of ChiZine Publications, not an independent press).
I would suggest if that happens, then the vote be recorded against ChiZine and not just ruled as 'ineligible' - some degree of common sense is needed.

But what is an 'Independent Press' anyway - what defines it? Not one of the big Six, or Five, or however many there are these days?  Independent of who?  Amazon is independent of everyone so do they qualify?

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Offline jared

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Re: AGM 2014 and awards proposals
« Reply #11 on: September 09, 2014, 05:13:50 PM »
But what is an 'Independent Press' anyway - what defines it? Not one of the big Six, or Five, or however many there are these days?  Independent of who?  Amazon is independent of everyone so do they qualify?

I think this is kind of fun - it is very woolly, but that's part of what will make this interesting. I do think, however, it will change the flavour of the award as we'll get a wider range of publisher sizes. Within genre, I wouldn't classify Solaris, Titan or Angry Robot as a 'Small Press', but I would say that they are 'Independent'.

Part of what makes small presses impressive (no pun intended) is that they do what they do with few people and fewer resources, and that's a lens we can use in judging their quality. I'm proud of Jurassic London, but I'm not going to say we're anywhere near Titan. Or Canongate. Or... etc.

With publishers of all sizes involved, I think we'll need to come up with a different sort of criteria for excellence - bravery, perhaps? Discovery of new talent?! Cost-efficiency?! I'm just trying to think of criteria that are a level playing field.

I don't say this as a complaint. I think this is really fun and interesting, and provokes a whole new conversation. Plus - as I suspect was the intention -  "Best Independent Press" sounds a lot more glamorous than "Best Small Press"...

Offline Rolnikov

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Re: AGM 2014 and awards proposals
« Reply #12 on: September 09, 2014, 05:16:00 PM »
I would suggest if that happens, then the vote be recorded against ChiZine and not just ruled as 'ineligible' - some degree of common sense is needed.

I wouldn't want to start reallocating votes, but it might be something I could take into account in the event of an unbreakable tie.

If I'm aware of an issue, I'll flag something like Undertow as ineligible in the suggestions list and say which press it is an imprint of, to direct votes in the right direction.

But what is an 'Independent Press' anyway - what defines it? Not one of the big Six, or Five, or however many there are these days?  Independent of who?  Amazon is independent of everyone so do they qualify?

All good questions. And what about an arrangement like that of The Guardian, which has set up a company to own itself? Is that independence or not? I'm glad I've got a few months to think about it!

In my view, any publisher, however huge, however minuscule, that isn't owned by someone else counts as an independent press.

My impulse is to say that Amazon would count, so far as they are a publisher. Lulu too, perhaps (in their capacity as the actual publisher of some titles, not where they just act as POD suppliers). Games Workshop, Future Publishing, Rebellion? Individual cases may often require research.

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Re: AGM 2014 and awards proposals
« Reply #13 on: September 09, 2014, 05:27:37 PM »
Within genre, I wouldn't classify Solaris, Titan or Angry Robot as a 'Small Press', but I would say that they are 'Independent'.

I think Solaris are owned by Rebellion, and Angry Robot by Osprey, so I don't think they would count (though I'm not making actual decisions on any of this just yet, just chatting). Titan, though, yes, looks like they would definitely be eligible, and potentially a serious contender too.

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Re: AGM 2014 and awards proposals
« Reply #14 on: September 09, 2014, 06:00:39 PM »
As in all walks of life, we give individuals or committees the responsibility to make decisions.
Sometimes it is more difficult to make slavish decisions on strict rules than on wisdom about probabilities of intent.
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