Just letting you know that I’m reading the recent Wikimania-focused mailing
list threads with interest, as the Community Resources team is now on-point
for funding and coordinating WMF’s involvement in Wikimania.
A couple of first thoughts to share:
1. WMF has learned from past Wikimanias that we need to do our
due-diligence on venue etc before the host team and location is announced.
One reason for this is that we have a limited budget for Wikimania, and
doing a site visit before the host is finalized helps us ensure that we’re
able to support the costs of the event in a given location. Ellie Young is
headed to Montreal in 2 weeks and based on what she learns from that visit,
we’re aiming to give the steering committee what they need to confirm
selection before the end of 2015. That said, we recognize that
communications around this haven’t gone as planned, and we are looking into
improvements…(see thought 2)
2. We, too, would like to see the movement building towards a shared vision
of Wikimania! It is great to see so many people, in true Wikimedian-style,
thinking about big-picture questions of participation, representation, and
content at Wikimania. Knowing that mailing list discussions have their
limits, here’s how my team is thinking about collecting feedback more
systematically for this going forward:
We’ll be launching a community consultation in November to help build
towards more shared vision and process improvements for Wikimania 2018 -
2021. Two key inputs we’ve been thinking about using to launch that
conversation are 1) responses from the survey of last Wikimania’s attendees
and 2) the steering committee’s recommendation for host selection going
We’re still regrouping from the latest Resources Consultation, and will
begin planning for a Wikimania Consultation next week, so after that we’ll
be able to share more information about what this consultation will look
like and the exact timeline. Meanwhile, suggestions and open questions that
you’d like to see resolved via this consultation are most welcome in this
thread. My hope is that a consultation will help broaden participation in
these conversations and get us from input to action.
Director of Community Resources
Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.
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TL;DR: The Wikimania Committee and the WMF Community Engagement department
will be working on coming up with a new process for venues for future
Wikimanias, which we will be seeking input from the community in the next
At the Committee’s meeting in Mexico City in August, we agreed to alter the
way that Wikimania locations are decided.
The existing bidding process has developed over time. It has become
unwieldy and hard work for the community and staff. It demands that people
pour a huge amount of effort into building local teams, contracts and
institutional relationships only for rejected bids' work to be left unused.
A lot of pressure is put on volunteers to try to work on logistics rather
than dream about what would make a great programme for our communities.
Each year, the jury has to decide on a venue based on what is presented by
each group divisively, rather than what we as a community could come
together and build.
The process is too short-term, setting out venue much less than two years
ahead (often only just more than twelve months in advance). This greatly
increases expenses when other similar conferences plan locations out many
years ahead. This makes it impossible for us to be strategic about
location, prevents us from arranging co-location with like-minded
conferences, and it means that some areas of the world are ignored when
they could provide great Wikimanias.
Consequently, from now on the Committee will pick an area for Wikimania
four to five years in advance, from the following (provisional) list. The
years in which we have already held Wikimanias in these areas are shown in
* Western, Northern, and Southern Europe (2005, 2014)
* Canada and United States (2006, 2012)
* Asia-Pacific (2007, 2013)
* Middle East and North Africa (2008, 2011)
* Latin America (2009, 2015)
* Eastern Europe, Russia, and Central Asia (2010)
* South Asia (none yet)
* Sub-Saharan Africa (none yet)
* Oceania (none yet)
The Committee intends to deliberately rotate between these areas to make
sure we allow as many community members to attend as cheaply as possible.
The large majority of our community members are based in either North
America or Europe; organising Wikimanias in these areas allows the majority
of our community members to attend cheaply, so that money spent on
scholarships can go further, and be more focussed in supporting our
community members wherever they are based.
Locating Wikimania in other continents does not assure that participants
from these areas can attend more cheaply. Nevertheless, to support the
movement worldwide, we do want to ensure that, every third year, Wikimania
will take place neither in Europe nor North America.
We propose that a sequence of "Western, Northern, and Southern Europe",
"Canada and United States", and one of the others every three years, picked
out several years into the future. Beyond the first two areas, we may not
visit some as often as others. (I have not listed Antarctica as an area to
which we will rotate, which may well be a disappointment to members of the
British Antarctic Survey and others in that location.)
More widely, we would like to encourage Wikimedia conferences as open,
engaging and fun community meetups, alongside the annual Wikimania
conference. I know that several chapters run country-specific conferences
each year, which is a good move. I think that there should be at least one
annual Wikimedia conference in each of these areas. This would help newer
editors know that there are people like them nearby without requiring the
existence of, or putting too great a demand on, every national chapter or
other local affiliated body. In some areas like Africa where the distances
are great, multiple regional conferences may make sense.
As part of the new system of location selection, we will no longer have a
'bidding' process. Instead, the Committee invites people interested in
leading or helping to run a Wikimania to contact us on-wiki
<https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Talk:Wikimania>, or via the wikimania-l
list. If you think that you know a great team, venue or concept for holding
Wikimania, in your area or anywhere else, please discuss the possibilities
with us. We will work with interested community members to narrow down the
selection to a particular venue.
Our next few locations will thus go like this:
* 2016: Western, Northern, and Southern Europe – Esino Lario in Italy
* 2017: Canada and United States – TBD
* 2018: TBD – TBD
* 2019: Western, Northern, and Southern Europe – TBD
* 2020: Canada and United States – TBD
* 2021: TBD – TBD
As you can see, as well as picking the 2017 venue in Canada or the United
States, for which we have a candidate lined up, we need to select very
quickly the area for 2018, and after that, 2019 and beyond. There are
several areas we’ve outlined above that have never had a Wikimania, and
others where we have not visited for some time. We would love your thoughts
on the areas on which we should focus for 2018 and beyond. We’ll also be
asking in future for your thoughts about how to structure the programme of
each Wikimania to make it as good as it can be for you, for others, and for
our community overall.
James D. Forrester
Chair, Wikimania Committee
Just a reminder that WikiConference USA will be from October 9-11, in
Washington DC at the National Archives.
The main McGowan theater sessions will be live streamed via YouTube. If all
goes well, we'll have the other sessions recorded for release later.
This has been going on for three days, yet not one person involved in this
decision has take a moment to reachout personally to the people who worked
on bids, They have tabled justifications on list discussions, they have
changed the status of Meta pages but not once have they given anyone the
courtesy of owning the mistakes that have caused this, not even the WMF has
made any personal attempt to help reconcile the damage at a more personal
my month ahead;
- in three hours a meeting with a bid sponsor
- in 2 days a workshop with GLAM commencement of a new project that will
include 100,000+ image donation
- in 5 days WMAU AGM where no doubt these events will be a topic of
- in 15 days on 21st & 22nd I'll giving presentations at a national GLAM
conference about working with us and about we have already started
I do all of this and a lot more as a volunteer not a paid employee, 3 days
ago my perception in the openness, honesty and integrity of the projects
took a big hit, so as hollow as it'll be now it'd still be nice to think
that the people involved in this have the courage to acknowledge & own
their failures in the way the changes evolved and were communicated.
As a foot note I contacted the WMF three days ago asking for information
and an apology then that I could take to those outside our community who
have also put time, effort and resources into the bid, those email havent
even been acknowledge as being received.
We all make mistakes but its what we do next that counts
(giving a name to this thread, because I can ;) )
On Sun, Oct 4, 2015 at 10:03 PM, James Forrester <jdforrester(a)gmail.com>
> On Sun, 4 Oct 2015 at 12:45 Lodewijk <lodewijk(a)effeietsanders.org> wrote:
>> Michal's comments reflect part of what I'm thinking - and I think the
>> exact splits of the regions may require some further discussions. Given the
>> notes I've seen elsewhere, I trust that this is a first draft of the exact
>> outlines of the regions, and not necessarily definitive?
> As has already been stated in this thread, yes.
>> For example, I was also surprised to see your definition of 'North
>> America' being US + Canada, and not to include Mexico.
> We explicitly a repeatedly used the term "Canada and United States"
> because "North America" includes Mexico, and we didn't think that was
Then I must have seen that name being used elsewhere in this context.
Still, I'm not sure if it shouldn't be included - but as said, that is a
second tier discussion imho.
> This is a discussion we seem to skip each year as a community - what do we
>> expect exactly of Wikimania, what do we want to accomplish with it? What
>> are its goals?
> If you re-read our call for input, you might see that this is precisely
> the question asked:
> We’ll also be asking in future for your thoughts about how to structure
>> the programme of each Wikimania to make it as good as it can be for you,
>> for others, and for our community overall.
> Ensuring that as many Wikimedians can come to Wikimania each year is of
> little value if they event isn't as useful as it can be.
It was a bit snowed under in practical and regional discussions, I'm
afraid. My point is that somehow, we always say we should have that
discussion, but we never do. It is not that I 'blame' the committee for
this, but I remark that we really should have that discussion. I'm glad I
find you in agreement there.
But, I also think I would go a few steps further. I wouldn't only ask 'how
to structure the programme' but really go a few levels deeper. Why do we
want a Wikimania? What is its general purpose? What do we want to
accomplish. Not quite the question you quote - although I know from
experience that you do ask that question yourself.
I would have liked to see that discussion before deciding that we need more
than two years of preperation, before we even decide there should be a
rotational schedule (although I doubt that the outcome would be that we
should have it in the same city each year).
It has proven time and again that having such fundamental discussions is
difficult in our community, especially going beyond the usual suspects.
Maybe the outcomes of the Wikimania surveys (were those published yet?)
could be a good starting point.
> Wikimania-l mailing list
Thanks James for the clarification. I agree with Nemo, I like how things are spelled out in advanced with less ambiguity.
> On Oct 4, 2015, at 3:55 PM, wikimania-l-request(a)lists.wikimedia.org wrote:
> Re: [Wikimania-l] Coming up with a new process for Wikimania
On Mon, Oct 5, 2015 at 8:41 AM, Osmar Valdebenito <b1mbo.wikipedia(a)gmail.com
> I'm simply baffled in the way the Committee has just decided to explicitly
> reduce the participation from the so-called Global South, specially when we
> are supposed to promote the communities in those countries. Although I
> agree and understand that places with bigger communities should host
> Wikimania more often, the decided rotation is more unbalanced that in the
> past. Since 2009, Wikimania has rotated between the Global North and the
> Global South each year; now, the Global North will have 2 Wikimanias for
> each one hosted in the Global South (and I'm not considering the case of
> developed countries -such as Poland or Australia- hosting those years with
> the weird classification others have pointed out).
> Considering this rotation system, one of 21 countries from Latin America
> will only have an opportunity to host in 2035, while the US will have the
> opportunity 7 times in the same timespan. Absurd.
.. and if Mexico, Eastern Europe, and North Africa hosts (because so far as
accessibility goes - travel time/costs, etc - these practically are North
America and European hosts) are chosen, then according to these rules it
could easily go over 10 consecutive years without leaving those regions.
Pushing areas like South America and the Asia-Pacific further down the
priority list, and Australia from "almost never" to "never".
Charles / User:Chuq