So John Scalzi has reluctantly thrown his hat into the ring as a write-in candidate for SWFA, based on a lack of suitable opponents to the current uncontested candidate. (http://www.scalzi.com/whatever/004960.html) He presents a logical, informed, and intelligent platform for SFWA's future growth and success, and I want to see him succeed, despite his assurances to the contrary that he doesn't want the job, he just doesn't want the current guy to have it.
This brings me to my rant, though. I'd totally vote for him. If I could. Which I couldn't. I've only had one professional fiction sale that counts towards membership requirements (I've had three altogether, but one was to a webzine which folded fairly quickly, and the third was a reprint of the second sale) and you need 1 novel, 3 short stories, or 1 screenplay to qualify for full active membership. I count as an Associate, which is a vague step up from my previous status as Affiliate (gained on the basis of being a at-the-time "editor" and reviewer). Nevertheless, I've been active in the field, and a member of SFWA for years. But only Actives can vote. Associates, Affiliates, Institutionals and so on can't run for office, vote for officers, nominate or vote for awards.
How screwed up is that? We're all part of the same field. We're all part of the same organization. And yet, unless you've sold your pieces of fiction, you don't have much of an official voice. Editors, publishers, reviewers, anthologists, agents, artists... none of them have a say in who runs SFWA UNLESS they've sold a novel. Are you telling me that the people actually putting out the books and magazines, the people brokering deals and negotiating contracts, all the people who help keep the market going so writers have somewhere to submit their work, those guys don't deserve a say in awards and leadership?
Look, I understand the organization is Science Fiction and Fantasy WRITERS of America, but if you're going to let the rest of the field in, why not give them a chance? As it stands, some guy who sold three short stories 20 years ago and has done nothing since besides pay his annual dues and show up to the parties, has more say in things than the people actually, actively involved in things today. I mean hey, I may only have a few stories under my belt, but I'd sure love to have a chance to vote for SFWA officers, or to nominate for the Nebulas, or to vote for them.
I really hope this can be addressed someday. Associates and Affiliates deserve the same voice as Actives, in my opinion.
That's my three cents. If someone can provide a good rebuttal to this, feel free, but no flames, please. :>