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April 7th, 2006
03:54 pm

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2008 worldcon site selection
I am torn about what site to vote for for the 2008 worldcon. I know quite a few people working on the Chicago Bid, and I'm sure they can run a terrific con, though I've never been to a Chicago worldcon. But, frankly, I'm leaning toward voting for Denver.

Here's why:

  • Denver's a great city. I like the area, and I don't get out there enough
  • I go to Chicago all the time. And frankly, I'm not all that crazy about it (though it has my favorite skyline in all the world and, yes, they do have good hot dogs.)
  • Chicago has had a lot of worldcons (this would be their seventh) - I feel for fairness and for the impression we give non-Americans, we should vary where the con is held more than we do.
  • I like Kent Bloom (chair of the bid). I met him at a smofcon and he seemed both nice and ept. I like people working on the Chicago (and columbus) bids too, but I see them fairly often. I haven't seen Kent in years.
  • It seems like the bid committee has negotiated a good deal for their hotel and facilities, at least according to their reports
  • I like the idea of having the convention earlier in August, so as to be before school starts and not conflict with dragoncon. (not that I go to dragoncon, but hey)


The Chicago bid web page is more slick. The group has also given themselves more time to bid, and accordingly put more time into it, and they have a theme. But I'm still leaning toward voting for Denver. Anyone want to try to talk me out of it?

(41 comments | Leave a comment)

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From:jimhines
Date:April 7th, 2006 08:11 pm (UTC)
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For purely selfish financial reasons, I'm hoping for Chicago. A 4-hour drive is a lot cheaper than plane tickets, especially if I decide to bring the family along.

I agree with you on the fairness and variety point. But I'm just cheap :-)
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From:dagibbs
Date:April 7th, 2006 08:19 pm (UTC)
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Anywhere-but-Chicago?

They've had some slick bids -- doesn't mean they'll run a slick con. There is a certain amount of con-running fatigue that can happen when you do those worldcon things too often.

I'm inclined towards Denver, too.

The race I'm most interested in, though, is Montreal vs KC. Cause, it would be real cool to have a Worldcon a 2-hour drive away. But, I'm unlikely to make it to the vote for this one, as Japan is just too far, and too expensive, for me.
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From:tammylc
Date:April 7th, 2006 08:30 pm (UTC)
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You don't have to go Japan to vote for the 2009 worldcon. You need to have a supporting membership in the convention, and to pay the voting fee (which will automatically turn into a supporting membership for whichever convention wins), but you can vote by mail or maybe online.
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From:shsilver
Date:April 7th, 2006 08:28 pm (UTC)
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As someone involved in the Chicago bid, I'm not going to try to convince you one way or t'other. I'm sure both Denver and Chicago will put on good bids. For me, the difference is that if Denver wins, I won't have to do as much work, although I've had a lot of fun creating very different ads for practically every program book we've taken out ad space in.
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From:gerisullivan
Date:April 7th, 2006 09:27 pm (UTC)
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You've done an excellent job with those ads -- the dual-language ad you placed in Nippon's Progress Report was utterly inspired. Brilliant!
(no subject) - (Anonymous) - Expand
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From:jeffreyab
Date:April 7th, 2006 08:38 pm (UTC)
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In terms of the greatest good for the greatest number of fans I am supporting Chicago.

Its easier for more people to get to, esp. those who may be going to their first convention or worldcon. Chicago is easy driving distance for much of the Midwest while Denver is rather isolated. It depends on who you want to see at the con, all your old friends who can afford to fly in, or a bunch of new faces amazed at their first worldcon?

Sentiment, Chicago was my first worldcon.

I like Chicago but have not been there since I think the 2001 Windycon.

Chicago has a good cadre of conrunners and supports three cons a year locally.

Good restaurants within walking distance of the hotel.
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From:shsilver
Date:April 7th, 2006 10:44 pm (UTC)
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Chicago has a good cadre of conrunners and supports three cons a year locally.

Actually four. Capricon, 2BeContinued, Duckon, and Windycon.
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From:tammylc
Date:April 7th, 2006 08:40 pm (UTC)
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One of the big disadvantages I see for Denver is that their location is very spread out. The main hotel is 3 1/2 blocks from the convention center - unless they're very short blocks, that's worse than San Jose. And the hotel only has 1200 rooms, so they're going to end up using a bunch of different hotels. Contrast that with Chicago where the Worldcon will be essentially under one roof. I like the Columbus location, but don't think they are capable of pulling off a Worldcon.

Note: I'm involved in the Chicago bid (although not as much as I'd have liked to be), but the opinions stated above are my own.
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From:jeffreyab
Date:April 7th, 2006 08:54 pm (UTC)
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So "Convention in a Box" is a factor, being weather proof except for going out to dinner.

Worse than Con Jose is not good, unless the route is lined with things like restaurants.

Dispersed can work OK, if the weather helps, which it did in San Francisco and San Antonio and did not so much in Winnipeg.
Confrancisco had a lot of hotels but this did give some cheap room options for people. I am not sure Denver can do the same.
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From:stardustgirl
Date:April 7th, 2006 09:24 pm (UTC)
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Nope, not talking you out of it! I think Denver would be fine; it's more central for the US as a whole and would give the out-of-the-country people a chance to see something other than a coast. August in Denver is likely to be more pleasant weather-wise than August in Chicago, not to mention the fact that it's beautiful out there.
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From:jeffreyab
Date:April 9th, 2006 05:34 pm (UTC)
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Except Chicago is indoors and you do not have to emerge to go to restaurants until later in the day when it is cooler.
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From:matt_arnold
Date:April 7th, 2006 09:30 pm (UTC)
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For what it's worth, the only way I'll ever go to a Worldcon is if it's less than 400 miles away. Which pretty much leaves Chicago and Toronto. Granted, this is a strictly selfish criteria.
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From:tammylc
Date:April 7th, 2006 09:51 pm (UTC)
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Matt, I bet if you went to one Worldcon (hopefully Chicago in 2008) you would find yourself totally hooked. My first Worldcon was Chicon 2000 and I've been to all but one since. Worldcons are really, really cool.
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From:rmeidaking
Date:April 7th, 2006 10:26 pm (UTC)
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I haven't even decided whether to vote or not.

The primary reason that I would vote for Chicago is that the committee bidding is not the same one that ran prior Chicons. This team is significantly younger and more energetic than the folks who ran Chicon 2000.

The primary reason that I would vote for Denver is that it's been a long time since there was a Worldcon in that part of the country, and they can probably do a reasonable job.

The primary reason I would not vote for Chicago is that friends of mine would try to drag me into helping out on it.

The primary reason I would not vote for Denver is that their hotel is located a long way from their convention space. Bleah - I hate that. They are also in a bunch of hotels, which means that there would be a secondary attempt to get into the same hotel as my friends - which often doesn't work. Bleah again.

Columbus is a nice town, but not up to a Worldcon. IMO. Yeah, I feel that way about Ann Arbor, too! The whole state of Michigan, for that matter. :-)

I guess I've talked myself into voting for Chicago. :-)
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From:gerisullivan
Date:April 7th, 2006 11:28 pm (UTC)

Part 1 of 2: Comparing the websites

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I certainly don't want to try to talk you out of it, for I haven't yet decided myself which site I'm going to vote in first place and which in second. But I thank you for raising the question -- it had been awhile since I'd looked at any of the bids' websites or otherwise evaluated where they stand now. And watching a bid's development is one of the ways I consider what kind of Worldcon they're likely to run.

Here's my current mix of thoughts on the matter:

Each website has its strengths and weaknesses. Even though Columbus has pretty much stopped running bid tables or parties most anywhere you'd expect to see a Worldcon bid in the last 12-18 months before the election, their website does a much more obvious job that Chicago's of addressing the question of just what a Worldcon is and linking to information about how site selection works. I found one link to Worldcon page from the Chicago site, and nothing that tells me voting is this year. Denver's site is the best of all in that regard. The site is bare bones, but the FAQ is excellent -- clear, to the point, useful.

Chicago's website is great at linking to regional and local conventions, and especially at building enthusiasm and credibility with their party reports.

To my eye, each of the websites does a reasonably good job of reflecting its bid's sensibilities, strengths, and weaknesses. Both Denver and Chicago say which conventions they'll be at between now and the vote, and where they've been. I note that Columbus doesn't have such a list; that's telling, given the bid to date. Denver is deliberately running a short, low-cost race. I think it would be to the overall benefit of future Worldcons if they were successful with this strategy, and I'd measure success on this not just by winning, but also by ending up with a close vote count.

From the time he came on as bid chair, Dave McCarty has stressed that this Chicago bid is drawing from across the many conventions in the Chicago area, using the Worldcon bid to help strengthen the local conrunning scene and continue building closer relationships between the folks working on the different conventions. The site's list of local and regional conventions is another reflection of that. But then, instead of maximizing the value of that approach, the main reasons Chicago claims voters should chose it is that they've held more Worldcons than anyplace else, that they're good at it, and that they enjoy it. The first is fact, the second claim is at odds with the common wisdom and my experience that Chicago Worldcons have been getting steadily worse since Chicon IV in 1982. Telling voters that you enjoy running Worldcons is fine and good; it's excellent, even. Resting on the laurels of having run the most Worldcons, and boasting about how good you are at it, is a vote-killing strategy to my eyes. If a bid it really all that good, it lets other people praise how good it is. And it uses its "Why" space to talk about its real strengths; it builds on past success rather than resting on it, and it tells us what's new and exciting this time around, especially when those new and exciting factors address key weaknesses in previous Chicago Worldcons. The Chicago bid a good mix of con-running experience and youthful energy. It doesn't reinforce the walls between the different fannish groups there; it helps tear them down. And it's not just drawing from Chicago; it has folks with national visibility and experience heavily involved. Folks like Don and Jill Eastlake Especially Jill. :-)

Denver is the only bid to list not just the bid committee but also the bid membership. While the list is shorter and older than I'd expect, it's an excellent mix of usual suspects -- and I trust the judgment of most of those -- and names that are new to me. That seems a good sign.
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From:avt_tor
Date:April 9th, 2006 05:25 am (UTC)

Re: Part 1 of 2: Comparing the websites

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I have mentioned in the past that the Chicago bid site should list the membership. We've had problems with past webmasters. I will ask that this be dealt with.

I guess perceptions differ. To most of the locals I've talked to, the trend is positive; '82 had a concom at war with itself, '91 had some major problems, and 2000 worked well except for a couple of areas. It could be just that email makes internal problems more visible to a wider audience. It looks like all the local groups are getting along better now than they ever have in the past.

Dave's got tons of youthful energy. Jill and Don have more experience between them than most bids do collectively. Helen's command of detail is impressive. And we have a couple ex-Worldcon chairs and assorted division and department heads in various roles. I want to get some bios up on the web site (I've just been really busy up until last weekend for the past, gosh, ten years I guess).

I don't do political stuff well; I leave the job of persuading people to others. I didn't join the Chicago bid to compete against anybody, I just joined because I respect a lot of the people there. The bid tried to comply with tradition with the old rules, and when it looked like the rules might change, the bid chose a different year so that votes on the no-zone proposal and the 2004 site selection would not have to take future bids into account. When I heard about a possible Chicago bid at Windycon in 1981, I told Dina, "Any time Chicago wants to go for it, I'll be there to help." I'm not sure how many parties we're doing for Easter; Dave and Helen are off to Britain; Marah and I are heading for Norwescon; others are doing other cons. We're going to do at least six parties on Memorial Day weekend; Don and Jill are coming down here to Balticon and I'm heading out to help (I believe) KT at ConQuest. I know Chicago has a lot of momentum, we're going to have a lot of people and a lot of money going into LA, for what that's worth.

I'm a partisan so I'm not going to give an objective opinion. I am going to interpret your comments as useful feedback.
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From:gerisullivan
Date:April 7th, 2006 11:30 pm (UTC)

Part 2 of 2: The bids themselves

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There's much, much more to a bid than its website, of course. And that's where things get even more mixed for me. Dave McCarty and crew have done an utterly excellent job of giving the Chicago bid real legs in the last 18 months. That goes a long way toward making me willing to go to another Chicago Worldcon much though I'll hold firm to my vow to not host a party in the Chicago Hyatt, a vow I made following the experience of running a Minneapolis in '73 suite there in 2000. Never before or since have I had the misfortune of hosting a party in such a party-hostile hotel environment. And that's saying a lot, especially given that I ran the hospitality division at ConJose and had more than the typical party-host experience with the San Jose Fairmont in the process. Much as I treasure the memory of winning Kurt Baty's and Scott Bobo's "Best Party of the Worldcon" award at Chicon 2000, I still haven't been able to forget the sheer awfulness of scrubbing the tile entry to the suite each day before going to bed a couple of hours past dawn. Why was I on my knees scrubbing the floor? So the suite wouldn't look dirty when the maid arrived. I cleaned much of the damned suite myself *and* left extortion payoff tips to avoid the multi-hundred dollar cleaning and damage bills other parties were getting hit with. And, yes, I'm still bitter.

I'm very pleased the Chicago bid seriously considered other properties; I'm sorry none of them worked out.

My major concern about the Denver bid is its relationship with the local fan base, which is weak at best. Counter-balancing that is my belief that Kent, Mary, and crew would run a solid Worldcon, and especially that lots and lots of very talented folks would gladly contribute their helping hands, legs, bodies, and lives for the duration. Add to that the fact that I believe Kent and Mary plan to run the kind of Worldcon that has a good chance of not eating those talented folks alive.

At this point, I think both Chicago and Denver would continue doing a good job of linking into The Permanent Floating Worldcon Committee while also welcoming and using new folks reasonably well. Columbus completely loses out on this point, and for me it's an important one.

Eighteen months ago, Chicago didn't have a chance of my vote. I'm still leaning in Denver's direction, but the fact I've gone from certain to undecided, the fact that I have to think about it at all, is a strong tribute to all of the good Dave's done with the Chicago bid.

Okay, so summarizing and short bullet points just aren't my strength. :-) That's how this response ended up split into two parts -- the entire thing exceeds LJ's reply limit.

Hope there's been some interesting food for thought within.
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From:jeffreyab
Date:April 8th, 2006 03:46 am (UTC)

Re: Part 2 of 2: The bids themselves

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Its funny Geri but Tammy, Kim Kofmel and I were throwing 3 parties in the same hotel that weekend and dodged that bullet.

Mind you as Tammy points out we threw more modest parties, at least we tried, being down the hall from Torcon gave us alot of business.
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From:kevin_standlee
Date:April 7th, 2006 11:42 pm (UTC)
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I was one of the people who showered Kent Bloom with $20 bills in the lobby of the Chicago SMOFCon when in an unguarded moment he spoke of bidding for Denver, and I have a friend of the bid membership in Denver. I have tremendous respect for Kent, who I consider someone who has thought through many of the aspects of Worldcon running more thoroughly than most. He has considerable person experience working with Worldcons, and I believe he can recruit an excellent committee.

(Among his long list of credits: Kent ran the Events division at ConAdian; I was WSFS division manager and deputy chair. Last year in Glasgow he was the event producer (area/department head) for Opening/Closing Ceremonies, which meant he reported to me, and if that doesn't show the patience of a saint, I don't know what does.)

But Chicago has a massive location advantage, and will draw from a larger population base, and has a "one roof" Worldcon, which is always an advantage. And I believe that if Chicago wins, they will put together a good Worldcon too.

Poor Columbus: While I'm sympathetic to them, and they did manage to file a bid, as far as I'm concerned they've defaulted on this election.

I know I'll be voting Denver and Chicago 1 and 2 in this election; I just haven't decided which order it will be.
From:cherylmorgan
Date:April 8th, 2006 04:39 pm (UTC)
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Hang on a minute. You are on the Hollister Bid Committee!
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From:inhumandecency
Date:April 8th, 2006 06:59 pm (UTC)
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You have led me to think about the word "ept." Apparently "inept" is, etymologically, a trivial variation on "inapt," and so the opposite would be "apt." However, a more appropriate, and still related, opposite would be "adept" (for those occasions when you feel compelled to use a word that's in the dictionary).

The root of "inept" and "apt" is latin for "to fasten," while the root of "adept" is latin for "to grasp." So both of them have a connotation of having a hold on things, having it together, being able to find your ass with both your hands, etc.
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From:avt_tor
Date:April 9th, 2006 03:34 am (UTC)
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I like Kent Bloom (chair of the bid). I met him at a smofcon and he seemed both nice and ept.


Best thing Kent Bloom did for Torcon was to not respond to Tammy's email offering to run the con suite. She did a great job for Program Ops.
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From:tammylc
Date:April 9th, 2006 04:02 pm (UTC)
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Thanks, Alex! And I probably got more good press for pulling that one off than if I'd run the best consuite ever...

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