While we're discussing cultural and religious difficulties, may I add the somewhat overlooked fact that the third day of the main conference falls on Saturday, the Jewish Shabbat, in which observant Jews are strongly restricted in everything they do and the vast majority of them would not even consider attending Wikimania on a Shabbat. See [1].

Many members of our local editor community (and a considerable percentage of the Israeli populace) are observant of the Shabbat.

An extra difficulty is that the dates for Wikimania 2011 fall on the Three Weeks and specifically on the Nine Days ([2], [3]), which are a period of mourning for the destruction of the Temple when many observant Jews take on various mourning practices and would be even more hesitant to attend, for example, the parties and festivities surrounding Wikimania.

We chose to hold the conference over this specific weekend to suit working people at home and abroad and various calendar constraints , but the difficulty poised by holding it on a Shabbat (and on the Nine Days) to our audience is much greater than holding it in Ramaddan, when people fast during daylight but normally go on about their lives as usual, at least to some extent.

Just my two cents,

Harel Cain
Wikimania 2011 local team

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shabbat
[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Nine_Days
[3] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Three_Weeks

On Wed, Jul 20, 2011 at 20:38, Thomas Dalton <thomas.dalton@gmail.com> wrote:
On 20 July 2011 18:26, Nathan <nawrich@gmail.com> wrote:
> On Wed, Jul 20, 2011 at 1:09 PM, WereSpielChequers
> <werespielchequers@gmail.com> wrote:
>> There have also been threads on Meta
>> http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Talk:Wikimania_2011/Bids/Haifa
>> However rather than rehashing the decision to hold Wikimania in Israel
>> during Ramadan, or even trying to send out some last minute
>> invitations, may I suggest that we start focussing in on some of the
>> lessons to be learned from this?
>> I'd particularly like to see a commitment that future Wikimanias won't
>> clash with Ramadan or certain other "culturally sensitive" dates. It
>> will be difficult to list which ones we can't clash with and which we
>> can accommodate by having two hours break in a sports bar (Gdansk
>> clashed with some sort of sporting event). But we should at least try.
>> Oh and I think there is still time to get more virtual involvement.
>> WereSpielChequers
> It was the World Cup. Like anything, decisions have to be made about
> which accommodations are reasonable and which are not. Ramadan for a
> Wikimania in the Middle East might make sense... Ramadan for a
> Wikimania in North America or Western Europe may not (it is, after
> all, not 2 hours but a full month). Wikimanias are typically held in
> July and August, and Ramadan will conflict with that timeframe for at
> least several more years.

(I suspect WereSpielChequers knew it was the World Cup and was being
facetious. ;-) )

I agree, avoiding Ramadan isn't really feasible. Wikimania is always
held in the summer, and I don't think we should change that. Holding
it in the summer but not in Ramadan gives us very little flexibility
(at least for the next few years - as you say, Ramadan will have moved
out of the usual Wikimania period after that).

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