Requirements and Traditions for Westercon Committees
This document attempts to describe in concise format the requirements and customs for Westercon. It is a result of discussion on the SMOFS list <firstname.lastname@example.org>
This list is not comprehensive. Some elements, especially the Traditions section, are my opinion.
Westercon “Must Do’s”
Have at least two classes of members, Attending and Supporting. Supporting members must receive all progress reports, all “generally available publications” published after joining, and the program book. Supporting members may vote in site-selection.
Bylaws 1.3, 1.3.1, 1.3.3
These are the only classes a Westercon must have. Other classes of membership and their restrictions are up to the administering Westercon. These include Day members, Child members, Staff members, etc. Only Attending and Supporting members have the right to receive all publications or vote in site-selection. Other classes may have these rights extended to them but its not mandatory. Any class of membership that costs as much as a supporting membership must include the rights of a supporting membership, including the right to vote. Thus Child memberships and one-day memberships that cost at least as much as the Supporting membership cost must include a supporting membership.
Bylaws section 1.3.3
While not actually required to do so by rule, Westercons have traditionally published lists of their members in their progress reports and their program book (and more recently their web sites). However, they generally also give members the ability to opt out of having their names listed.
Names on Name Badges not less than 24 point bold type.
It is the opinion of the Westercon Business Meeting that name badges should be readable by the majority of members. This issue has been raised by the business meeting regularly, and has been codified in the bylaws. Yes, it is that important to regular Westercon members. Note further that there are plenty of ways of picking typefaces that look awful in 24 point bold. The point is that Westercon believes that names should be easily readable from a reasonable distance (i.e. when you’re standing near someone, you should be able to read his/her badge without having to lean over and squint at it). This means that if you need to lose the fancy artwork that uses 50% of your badge space to make names bigger, then do it! The name is more important than the artwork or other design elements such as where you are and what the current convention’s name is.
Finding technical evasions of this rule will not win you any friends.
Membership numbers shall be printed on the label of all progress reports, name badges and provided with the (mailed by convention) site selection ballot.
This is to maintain an accurate count of members and to make it easier to verify mail-in ballots for site selection.
Distribute bylaws to members in at least one progress report *and* the Program Book.
This is to ensure that every member has the opportunity to review the bylaws before the business meeting.
Print the Westercon Service Mark notice on all publications (including flyers).
Westercon was created by the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society. That organization maintains the legal status of the servicemark and is the de facto governing board for Westercon. Printing the service mark guarantees the independence of Westercon, and its a trivial thing to do.
Schedule at least one (1) business meeting, before the last day of the convention, starting between the hours of 11am and 2pm (local time).
Westercon is an organization with only one meeting per year. As such it requires a meeting to conduct the annual business of the organization.
It is usually a good idea to schedule the business meeting for the second day of the convention, with an additional meeting on the third day. The additional meeting is usually only for site selection business, but every few years something contentious comes up that requires overlap to the next day.
Also, Programming should always be aware that the Business Meeting is a priority event and if a Business Meeting refuses to adjourn — say something hot is being debated and no additional session is scheduled — then the program item following it is bumped, without question, and it’s Programming’s job to console the participants. While this doesn’t happen often, it has historically happened, most recently in 2011, and Programming should be aware of the technical possibility.
Conduct a Site Selection election, by mail and at the convention.
One of the (few) duties of the current Westercon is to poll its members to determine where future conventions should be.
Distribute the Mail-In Site Selection ballot no later than May 10th.
Since Westercon is traditionally over the July 4th Weekend, mail in ballots should be distributed early enough to allow members to research various bid teams and send their ballots in.
Provide 15 minutes of scheduled program time per legitimate Westercon Bid to answer questions, on the first full day of the convention.
This is to allow bidding committees to convince you to vote for them. Usually there aren’t enough bidding sites to fill in a whole programming slot. If so then other conventions should be allowed to make presentations/answer questions. Such as Seated Westercons, other bidded conventions (a.k.a. Worldcon bids), other conventions (Worldcons). A “legitimate Westercon Bid” is generally understood to mean a viable bid for a location that is allowed for the year being bid.
Have the Site Selection Balloting station open for at least 6 hours before the last day of the convention.
At least 6 hours so that people have time to vote. Before the last day of the convention because the winning bid will need to have time to register new members through conversions (people who pre-supported but didn’t vote, or people who voted but didn’t pre-support).
The following are some of the traditions that have grown over the time to be included at Westercons.
Guests of Honor
Choose Guests of Honor from the Westercon Region.
Westercon is a Western convention and as such should showcase notables who reside in the Westercon region.
Duplication of Guests
Choose Guests that have not been Westercon guests before.
There are only so many Westercons (one per year) and hundreds of potential honorees. It hurts Westercon when someone is honored more than once for the same class (i.e. Author, Artist, Fan). Historically the Toastmaster or Master of Ceremonies honoree is a “working” guest so is not usually counted.
Offer other than Attending and Supporting membership classes.
Its not required but usually the convention offers Child, One Day or Staff memberships at reduced prices. These occasionally include the right to receive publications and to vote, but not always. These classes must include voting rights if they cost as much as a supporting membership, which they usually do.
A costume competition usually held on the second night of the convention.
First Night Icebreaker
A big nighttime event such as a Mixer, Meet the Guests or Ice Cream Social. The Ice Cream Social is a Southern California tradition that does not appear to have spread to other areas.
A Regency Dance
Early dance usually in costume that has been a staple for many years.
at least one non-Regency Dance
Other dances sometimes occur such as Rock, Swing, Rave, Techno or Goth to mixed results. Usually at least one dance is pretty much required.
Off Site Excursions
Organized trips to local attractions, preferably pre or post convention.
Everything else is up to the discretion of the administering Westercon. Note that Banquets and Award Ceremonies are left up to their discretion.
This document prepared by James M. Briggs with help from and notes by Kevin Standlee.
Edited by Jo Rhett for presentation.