Some initial thoughts

There has been a great deal of discussion over possible ways of changing the Eastercon. We could turn the convention into a limited company, into a charitable business, into a non-profit, into a WSFS clone. Lots of people have lots of different ideas and have been pushing their favoured option. One or more of them may even be right that their option is the best thing for Eastercon. However, in each case we seem to have started from the position that we should consider a particular solution.

What we don’t seem to be doing is considering what our problems are, what we want to change and where we want to end up. If we don’t do this, we are very likely to suffer some unintended consequences and possibly end up with a situation we really don’t want to be in.

In business, when we define a strategy for a company, we consider the nature of the organisation, its values and its vision of where it wants to be. Well, in theory anyway. Lots of businesses just plough ahead, much like Eastercon, and just end up at some random place. Others do lots of planning and still fail to hit their target. But it’s generally worth doing this bit of initial information-gathering, rather than just assuming we know exactly what’s wrong and trying to fix it.

What I’m proposing is a bit of research. We should talk to con chairs, talk to people in WSFS, charities, other organisations. We should carry out polls of convention members both recent and longstanding – is what they want compatible with what we want? We should also pull together some of the fannish background information from historians and people who were present during particularly trying episodes in our shared history. We probably also need to pull together a definitive list of the problems we are trying to deal with, the things we want to keep about the Eastercon and the things we are prepared to give up. We ought to look at our values and make sure we’re not throwing the baby out with the bathwater here.


One thought on “Some initial thoughts

  1. There was some slight confusion when I thought I was being asked for my thoughts by the chosen committee but it was actually a different, now subsumed, group. A slightly edited version follows.

    The one thing I’d now add is that I think the oversight committee should _only_ consist of Eastercon representatives.

    “Eastercon, Unlimited”

    Mancunicon are broadly in favour of this. The benefits of incorporating as a single Eastercon are pretty narrow and I’m leaving it up to our Treasurer to decide.

    But the benefits of incorporating as some sort of ongoing entity are quite broad. Off the top of my head I think
    * DPA
    * Ongoing financial history and accounts
    * Continued ownership of our stuff (art show gear, newsletter printers and racks, ops kit and stationery)
    * Possibility of adding new stuff to our existing stuff
    * Training and history

    The sort of parameters I’d like to see:
    * Volunteer run, staff and management
    * Involvement across a decade (2008-2017 in this instance)
    * Each committee chooses who represents it – maybe the expectation is the Chair, but it’s up to them
    * Existing and past Eastercons are grandfathered – they have the choice whether or not to join
    * Future Eastercons, 2018 and after, are automatic
    * Would be good to hold URLs and trademarks as well, subject to happiness of current holders
    * We’re supporting Eastercon committees not controlling them – we should place no requirements beyond the minimum necessary

    I would prefer some fixed pattern in who chairs it our “Eastercon, Unlimited” rather than elections, maybe not the representative of the sitting or most recent Eastercons but someone less busy under some agreed rule – the most recent Chair but one, for example?


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