One thing that would help make sense of where we are now: remind us how the overall structure of the conference is going to include not just the 42 “critical issues” sessions picked out of EasyChair, but also ones via other processes. Make it clear, repeat it constantly, and give links to people to understand it.

Right now, I cannot figure out the proportion, appropriateness or overall relationship of user digest presentations, critical issues or discussions, as laid out here:

For example, consider the high profile SXSW conference. They represent the content breakdown like this:
40% programming committee
30% public votes
30% staff

This tries to assure folks that good content will get recognized through one of three different processes.

Since this year’s Wikimania process is so new, there’s a lot of confusion on how to slot in other ideas outside of the formal EasyChair submissions. To wit, on the Submissions page of Wikimania 2016:

- “User digest presentations" - When the page says “Contact the Thematic Liaison,” the user is almost always at least two clicks away from finding a way to contact that person. Even worse, for many users, clicking on their name sends you to a confusing page: ““ What is the average user supposed to do with that? 

- “Discussions” page is a red link. There is not even a simple description of what this is. Same thing with “Community Village”

- Even a brief paragraph or a diagram showing the 10,000 foot/3048 meter view of the overall plan would be welcome on the submissions page. Right now there is no prose, only six big categories. This requires a lot of haphazard clicking and piecing together of the conference narrative. The only thing I found useful to describe the overall programming strategy is in the what is “NOT accepted” list in the critical issues guidelines, as described in this subsection:

I don’t mean to pile-on the Wikimania 2016 team, as I know how arduous it is to do this conference. I hope you’ll see this as not just griping, but constructive feedback on how to make the site and process better for users.


-Andrew Lih
Associate professor of journalism, American University
BOOK: The Wikipedia Revolution:
PROJECT: Wiki Makes Video

On Thu, Feb 4, 2016 at 10:11 AM, Fæ <> wrote:
On 4 February 2016 at 14:50, Lydia Pintscher
<> wrote:
> I got a very similar comment assuming I knew little about Wikidata. As its
> product manager...

Anyone who has been burdened with doing these sorts of reviews will
feel some sympathy for those giving the feedback. It is easy to upset
a lot of people if the process is not well thought out. Where there
are marking discrepancies, the workflow should mean it goes to another
independent reviewer and there is a meeting (like 2 minutes in a
Hangout discussion) where there is final agreement on the rating/mark
*and* the feedback that should be given.

Even without discrepancies in marks, feedback needs to be positive and
supportive, this is all volunteers giving their time after all, not
postgrads getting critical essay feedback. That means the workflow
also needs to include regular checks and team meetings to talk about
how to best ensure marks and feedback remains consistent, even when
the experience and viewpoints of the reviewers may be highly varied.

Lots of lessons to be summarized for later, and probably a need to
consider whether now is a good time put up your hands and formally
admit to problems in consistency. Asking submitters to give their
feedback and suggestions on-wiki, even if is too late to change any
decision, was a good response.


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