I apologise for the somewhat emotionally charged post. Please read to the
end and I promise my argument will come together...
Wikimania 2016 gave me more emotional hot air than any other previous
Wikimania except the one I organised (2013). But unusually, the hot air
didn't arise from disputes about Wikimedia chapter governance or conference
(dis)organisation. It was about Brexit.
(For the record, I thought Wikimania Esino was amazingly well-operated.)
Before Wikimania, I had already set out my attitude towards Brexit on a
Facebook note. I've reposted it on my user-space on the Wikimania 2016 wiki
so I won't repeat my arguments at length:
The title of my post gives it away - I'm lukewarm towards Brexit.
At Wikimania, the topic of Brexit naturally brought itself up in many
mealtime conversations between me and Wikimaniacs from other EU countries.
My opinion on the matter often took conversations towards unhappy
disagreement, and I would feel excluded from subsequent conversation on the
I've never felt so rejected at Wikimania. Most heated debate at Wikimania I
was involved in took the form of "us vs. y'all", so as inflamed as a debate
may have been, there would be a "my side". But not this time. My unusual
perspective as a non-white British (and EU, until UK formally withdraws)
citizen meant that I had a perspective that was shared by very few others
at Wikimania. It was like "me vs everyone else".
I felt disenfranchised enough by the referendum debate itself as a
non-white citizen of the UK. I felt sad enough that I voted Remain but
Leave won. I wanted to share the little bit of hope I still had about the
future, on the day Leave was declared victorious, and wasn't appreciated.
I shared my feelings with Daria Cybulska (WMUK staff, Polish origin) and
she reminded me to be "sensitive" of other people in discussion... an
instruction I immediately fell foul of in that discussion, as I forgot that
the UK's withdrawal from the EU will mean fewer opportunities for people
with similar backgrounds to Daria, as much as the EU's protectionist
tendencies have been reducing the opportunities for people with similar
backgrounds to me.
Okay, enough Brexit chat. I promised my argument would come together.
In her Wikimania keynote, Katherine Maher said one of the things WMF would
prioritise in the next year is to make our communities a "friendly and
I'm a six-time Wikimaniac; and in-person meetings are known to facilitate
more amicable debates than online discussions. But because of my unique
background, even I fell foul of the standards of sensitivity in
communication, and as a result felt unwelcome.
Now imagine someone from a far-flung corner of Wikimedia-sphere joining
Wikimania for the first time. Or a prospective new editor from a far-flung
corner of Earth clicking  for the first time. When there's
disagreement in which the newcomer has a unique perspective, will they feel
I don't claim to have the magic bullet. But thanks to Brexit happening
during Wikimania 2016, now I understand the sheer magnitude of the problem.
I feel encouraged that Katherine and the WMF are making it a leading
priority for the next year to foster a "friendly and inclusive" community
I'm not sure which one is easier to solve: the political mess of today's
Europe, or the hostile mess of online communities. But for both, I shall
remain hopeful and do my part to make our communities better.
We should give much more priority for scholarships to Wikimedians who have
or will in future have visa difficulties. Ideally that means hosting
Wikimania in relatively open countries at least every other year. But also
we need to at least decide the venue 18 months ahead. That way if we know
that someone won't be able to get a visa to the following year's Wikimania
and couldn't to the most recent Wikimania but could get a visa to the
upcoming Wikimania we can and should prioritise them for scholarships in
the Wikimania where they have best chance of getting a visa.
Of course this is a sensitive issue, the most difficult countries to get
visas for are also among the countries where we have hosted the largest
Wikimanias. But an annual Wikimania for those of us with widely accepted
passports could at least be a biannual Wikimania for Wikimedians from
countries with less popular passports.
Remember we are unusual in our conference attendees. A global academic
conference is going to have rather less difficulty getting visas for
tenured professors than we are going to have getting visas for people from
the same countries, especially for those wikimedians who don't have jobs.
On 12 July 2016 at 22:59, Deryck Chan <deryckchan(a)gmail.com> wrote:
> I think we do consider (1) and (2), but it's down to the scholarship team
> and local team to decide how they're implemented next year.
> On 11 Jul, 2016 1:06 pm, "Pine W" <wiki.pine(a)gmail.com> wrote:
>> A few other issues that may be worth examining:
>> 1. Whether people who have not received a Wikimania scholarship within a
>> certain number of years should get priority for scholarships.
>> 2. Whether users who are from backgrounds that don't have a corresponding
>> APG-funded affiliate that independently funds scholarships should have
>> priority for WMF scholarships
>> 3. What the scholarship self-reports from the past several years tell us
>> about the benefits of Wikimania for scholarship recipients.
>> 4. What Wikimetrics and qualitative measures tell us about Wikimania
>> attenance for attendees as a whole and about scholarship recipients as a
>> subgroup. For example, do we have data that demonstrates that (a) Wikimania
>> attendees in general, and (b) scholarship recipients, were more active in
>> the Wikimedia movement (measured quantitatively by edits and qualutatively
>> in terms of leadership roles) after attending Wikimania for the first or
>> second time? What can we learn from this data about the strengths and
>> weaknesses of Wikimania as well as the current scholarship system?
>> Wikimania-l mailing list
> Wikimania-l mailing list
I think we do consider (1) and (2), but it's down to the scholarship team
and local team to decide how they're implemented next year.
On 11 Jul, 2016 1:06 pm, "Pine W" <wiki.pine(a)gmail.com> wrote:
> A few other issues that may be worth examining:
> 1. Whether people who have not received a Wikimania scholarship within a
> certain number of years should get priority for scholarships.
> 2. Whether users who are from backgrounds that don't have a corresponding
> APG-funded affiliate that independently funds scholarships should have
> priority for WMF scholarships
> 3. What the scholarship self-reports from the past several years tell us
> about the benefits of Wikimania for scholarship recipients.
> 4. What Wikimetrics and qualitative measures tell us about Wikimania
> attenance for attendees as a whole and about scholarship recipients as a
> subgroup. For example, do we have data that demonstrates that (a) Wikimania
> attendees in general, and (b) scholarship recipients, were more active in
> the Wikimedia movement (measured quantitatively by edits and qualutatively
> in terms of leadership roles) after attending Wikimania for the first or
> second time? What can we learn from this data about the strengths and
> weaknesses of Wikimania as well as the current scholarship system?
> Wikimania-l mailing list
My bad I forgot it already is on meta
Le 9 juil. 2016 4:50 AM, "Pine W" <wiki.pine(a)gmail.com> a écrit :
Thanks Christophe. I, for one, have had difficulty figuring out what is
going on with Wikimania in regards to varying decisions in different parts
of WMF and the community, so I look forward to the clarifications.
Personally I am currently neutral on the decision of whether to have annual
Wikimanias, or alternate Wikimanias with years in which there is emphasis
on national or regional conferences. My hunch is that some research about
costs and benefits is needed so that we have reliable data about a variety
of scenarios before making a decision.
Thanks again for working on this.
To the board chairs: I would be interested in seeing that letter. In the
spirit of transparency, would you please publish it on Meta? As you know I
am an advocate for much more transparency from WMF, and I would like for
the affiliates to also to be transparent about governance matters such as
On Jul 8, 2016 19:18, "Christophe Henner" <chenner(a)wikimedia.org> wrote:
> Hi everyone,
> The same question was raised to the board a few days ago by chairs of
> Wikimedia organizations asking Foundation's board to make sure there's a
> comprehensive decision on this very topic.
> The chairs letter wasn't public, I let them share it on meta or here if
> they want to :)
> First step, in my opinion, is to set expectations and define the scope (in
> the role of the event but also in the ressources (both human and financial)
> we commit to the event.
> Katherine is working with the staff to provide groundings.
> Here is the answer I provided them with.
> Hi chairs!
> First of all, thank you with the email, the feedback is clearly useful and
> raises interesting point.
> Now, the Wikimania discussion definitly is on the table. Living by what we
> said during Wikimania, we, as WMF, will make sure we end up with a clear
> answer to your questions but also to the different points you raise.
> Wikimania is an important time in our movement, but as you said it also
> comes with costs and challenges that we have to adress. Katherine is going
> to meet in the coming days with the staff in charge of that topic to start
> that discussion within WMF and provide groundings for a comprehensive
> We will try to be as diligent as possible on that topic, but I would ask
> you to keep in mind that as we're in a transition phase and that might take
> a little more time than you could expect.
> Again thank you for your email, I love the fact that he raises issues but
> also includes the challenges we have to take care of :)
> We'll get back to you as soon as possible to continue that discussion.
> Have all a really great day / night :)
> While I concur with Coren’s conclusion, I’ll try to neutrally report on
> the events at Wikimania which led to this result. :)
> Full disclosure: I’m a fan of Wikimania being yearly, and was asked to
> serve on the Wikimania Committee after Esino Lario. I was also the main
> moderator of the Wikimania 2016 session on the “Future of Wikimania.” These
> views are my own, and not anything official from the committee.
> Background: Many folks (I’d say a majority) who I talked to in Esino Lario
> early in the conference thought that the decision to do Wikimania every
> other year was a done deal, as a result of the IdeaLab consultation. I told
> them that might not necessarily be so. The vote was close, not particularly
> widely known, and we could still be heard. Chris Schilling from the WMF,
> who oversaw the Idealab consultation, sought me out specifically at the
> start of the conference and to my delight, said that the consultation was
> “just another data point,” and that it was by no means the final word on
> things. Obviously, this was good news to people who were interested in
> keeping a yearly Wikimania.
> I was scheduled to moderate the “Future of Wikimania” discussion session
>  at the very end of the conference, and encouraged people to let their
> views be heard. It was under these conditions that we entered into the
> final discussion room and I asked Chris Schilling to give an opening
> statement to the room. Most people were happy to hear him say that it was
> “just another data point.” During the discussion, there was overwhelming
> support to keep Wikimania going every year, which is not a surprise
> considering this was *at* Wikimania. I encourage folks to peruse the
> Etherpad notes, which are quite extensive and expertly done by several
> folks there.
> Some views I’d highlight:
> - Having yearly Wikimania is important to keep the momentum of the
> movement going, according to many
> - A case for cancelling yearly Wikimania was to encourage/fund regional
> meetups. However, there is no guarantee that those regional meetups would
> actually take place, or that WMF would necessarily take the money saved
> from Wikimania to fund them. Some folks from Asia specifically said that
> there is weaker linguistic, cultural and geographic synergy for an “Asian”
> conference like there is in Europe and Africa, which is why it has been
> hard to do one.
> - One person noted that one trip to Wikimania served the same role as
> several international trips to get the same benefit from meeting other
> Wikimedians/developers, so there are indeed cost efficiencies in having a
> central conference.
>  https://etherpad.wikimedia.org/p/Wikimania2016-discussion7b
> -Andrew Lih
> Associate professor of journalism, American University
> Email: andrew(a)andrewlih.com
> WEB: http://www.andrewlih.com
> BOOK: The Wikipedia Revolution: http://www.wikipediarevolution.com
> PROJECT: Wiki Makes Video
> On Fri, Jul 8, 2016 at 10:18 AM, Marc-Andre <marc(a)uberbox.org> wrote:
>> On 2016-07-08 10:01 AM, Chris Keating wrote:
>>> Interestingly, I couldn't see any sign of the Committee's decision being
>>> informed by the WMF's consultation on the future of Wikimania, or anyone
>>> from the WMF's community engagement department being present.
>> Wikimania is, and always was, a community led and organized event. The
>> WMF, as its traditional biggest sponsor, has a great deal of influence
>> in the matter - but ultimately no decision power beyond "fund and resource
>> or not".
>> The committee's decision has indeed taken into account the consultation
>> you refer to - as well as the roundtable discussion on the "Future of
>> Wikimania" that took place earlier. Our evaluation, which is reflected
>> in that resolution, is that the consultation was clearly flawed and that
>> its conclusion does not reflect consensus - neither of the community
>> members who organize nor of those who attend Wikimania.
>> -- Coren / Marc
>>  Although "underwrite" might be a better term - the WMF has pretty
>> much shouldered the vast majority of the costs and given the most
>> logistical support year in and year out.
>>  Where the consensus was to overwhelmingly reject that consultation's
>> conclusion in favor or continuing with Wikimania as a yearly even given its
>> irreplaceable role in our movement.
>> Wikimania-l mailing list
> Wikimania-l mailing list
> Wikimania-l mailing list
Wikimania-l mailing list
In case you missed it, the DebConf17 (Debian Conference) dates were
announced: August 6-12, 2017. And it just so happens to be in Montreal
as well :-)
My quick searching indicated that the venues are about 30 minutes away
on public transport, so it might be feasible to attend parts of it while
One of the things I like most of Wikimania is reading people's notes
etc. about it, e.g. starting from
(make sure to add yours!).
Having chaired the scholarship committee this year, I want to remind
everyone that the scholars are working on the outcomes of their
attendance, to be described or pointed to from
Whether you attended Wikimania or not, consulting this material is
useful; even more useful if you comment on the respective talk page. You
could point out what you found most interesting, or give suggestions on
how achievements could be further advanced (maybe with inspiration from
other attendees, current or past), or what else you'd like to see. Such
comments will be useful for the author of the report (and their
community), for other wikimaniacs and for next year's scholarship
If you instead have comments on specific applications (or granted
scholarships), e.g. because you don't understand the committee's
decision, and you can't post them on any talk page, feel free to throw
them at me (e.g. at wikimania-scholarships(a)wikimedia.org ). I may reply
on your talk page, as my responses can't contain private information
anyway, and I can usually shed light on the thought process or the
mechanism which led to a certain outcome. Understanding the system is
necessary both to work with it as is and to change it; this is how I
I hope that all are safe in home after great moments in Wikimania 2016!
Next July 9th we will have the exhibition of Wikimania 2015 documentary in
Cineteca Nacional (Mexico Film Archive). The documentary is a half hour
piece about our event in Mexico City last year. A short trailer was
published months ago. Among the screening all the day for the public, we
will have one of our semiannual *Wiki Loves Cinema* editathon.
>From this day a copy of the documentary will be preserved for the future on
the archives of the Cineteca and after screening we will release the full
documentary in Wikimedia Commons and Youtube.
*Presidente - Wikimedia México A.C.User:ProtoplasmaKid *
// Mis comunicaciones respecto a Wikipedia/Wikimedia pueden tener una
moratoria en su atención debido a que es un voluntariado.
// Ayuda a proteger a Wikipedia, dona ahora: https://donate.wikimedia.org
I think everybody on this thread agree that funding in-person conferences
is a crucial way to invest in our community ;)
And I think most of us agree too that we now know the survey results were
unrepresentative of the actual distribution of community opinions. I'm
simply making suggestions about what we can learn from the imperfections.
On 9 Jul, 2016 9:49 pm, "Lodewijk" <lodewijk(a)effeietsanders.org> wrote:
> Hi Deryck, all,
> While you can agree or disagree on the usefulness of the letter, I would
like to make one point about the idealab survey. One thing that is not
pointed out clearly, is that there was a lot of criticism on the
methodology of that particular survey, and how the conclusions were drawn.
Please take a look at the talk page attached to that outcomes page that you
linked, and consider that much of the criticism wasn't even responded to. I
think Marc was kind but correct in his characterisation as 'clearly
flawed'. There was some useful data in there, but the conclusions that were
drawn, were a few bridges too far.
> Another thing that was mentioned in private conversations a lot, but not
in many public discussions is that Wikimania is and should be primarily an
investment in our community. Our community is by far our biggest asset.
Having a healthy community is essential, and it is important that different
communities learn from each other, exchange ideas and methods, interact.
Not just with the few neighboring languages, but also with those far away.
> You can investigate if this Wikimania structure if the most effective
way, but please lets not approach this from a 'cost cutting' perspective.
Lets not consider Wikimania as a cost, but as an investment in something
intangible, in infrastructure. The financial picture should be only a very
small part of the consideration - in my humble opinion. I'm not sure who
mentioned this at Wikimania (was it Dimi? Liam?) but if you compare the
amount of money we spend on community building, and how much big companies
spend on their staff happyness programmes, annual meetups and all - we're
probably not doing too bad. I would be much happier if we looked at this
from the perspective of the most effective way to have an international,
constructive, interactive and exchanging community.
> 2016-07-09 21:50 GMT+02:00 Deryck Chan <deryckchan(a)gmail.com>:
>> I find it a bit over the top too to have such a letter, so strongly
worded, and signed by so many board chairs.
>> It reveals a divide between those who participated in the IdeaLab
survey and those who were at the Future of Wikimania session in Esino.
>> It would perhaps be interesting to see if correlations can be revealed
as to what demographic of Wikimedian prefer 1 year per Wikimania and what
demographic prefer 2 year per Wikimania - like geographical distribution,
involvement in local Wikimedia groups (staff / board / other volunteer /
not a participant), and past attendance at regional Wikimedia conferences
>> Thank you. I find it confusing that the letter starts with "The
chairpersons of the Wikimedia chapters state that Wikimania needs to be
arranged every year," which implies that all of the chapter chairs are
united in agreement, but it appears several chapters didn't sign the
letter. Looking further at the content of the letter, I would have some
questions about some of the statements that were made there. In the future,
I would encourage chapter chairs to have discussions about matters such as
this on the Affiliates mailing list so that we can have more inclusive
discussions among more affiliates before sending letters like that. The
Wikimania situation is already convoluted, and I believe that letters such
as this should get fuller discussion among affiliates before they are sent
Hi Wikimania folks (Ellie and the Montreal organizers in particular),
Those of us in the US have expressed a hope that WikiConference North
America 2017 can be united with Wikimania 2017 in Montreal. This would
likely lead to economies of scale and reduced total cost, in terms of both
time and money, for what would otherwise be separate conferences.
I would like to ask if WMF and the Montreal organizers would be willing and
able to have some tracks at that conference dedicated to North American
regional and local subjects, perhaps coordinated by a dedicated North
America program committee. I foresee a modest increase in attendance at
Wikimania 2017, and decreases in personal and WMF costs, if we can make
what would otherwise be separate conferences happen harmoniously.
Thanks, and I hope to see you in Montreal next year.
Does anyone have close-up pictures of, and/or more information about
(creator, purpose, etc), the stone plaque that has Wikimania 2016
etched into it? This one:
Backstory: as some of you know, the original designer of the Wikimania
logo, Ben Yates, passed away a few years ago. I am in occasional touch
with his family and I think it would be meaningful for them to know
that somewhere in the world, Ben's logo is etched in stone :)
* I use this address for lists; send personal messages to phoebe.ayers
<at> gmail.com *