Sorry for not writing earlier. I came home about 24 hours ago, to find a
situation infinitely less organized that Wikimania, to which I had to
give a bit of attention.
I just sent a short word to the Foundation-l, because after what wrote
Andrew, there was not much more I felt like commenting over there.
Perhaps does it make more sense to get into details here :-)
First, and beside anything, I think it was a great Wikimania. I mean it.
We all know about the controversy last year after the decision over
Taiwan, and to be fair, I was worried that things could turn wrong, not
only because the event would fail, but also because I could hear the
complaints afterwards. But really, it was a great event and I really
enjoyed it. Perhaps the one thing which amazed me the most was the
quality of the organization, even though we could see Theodonarian and
others go around quietly or peacefully (or at least, not showing their
The location was a great choice. This is exactly what we should aim for
in the future. In a similar way to the Frankfurt location, it was the
right level of confort, the right size, the right number of rooms etc...
We all agree that last year was too disseminated. This year was simply
perfect. One of my fear for the future will be to be lead to choose big
hotels or convention centers, and lose this proximity which did wonders.
The open space was the best of the three years by far. Putting
everything at the same place was simply fabulous. Adding couches, food,
coffee, olpc stuff, registration, reimbursement, posters, staff room,
podcast... was just so cool. I also loved the big hanging schedule. I
only heard complains from lighting talks people, who would have been
best in the next room probably, because of the noise and space
available. But great job.
Accomodation was imho, just the right level of confort. I know there was
some odd moments in the first few days, but it was fixed and everyone
looked happy. It was clean, confortable, with wifi, common place to
crash, convenience shop etc... Just no comment.
One of the challenges of the coming years will be to find a place where
it is both not to expensive, and a place where we can host invited
speakers and visitors, so that everyone hang together.
Program was very interesting to me. I hope it was as well with most as
well. I suggest that in the future, we aim at something similar, with an
additional focus on workshop and panels, as opposed to regular
presentations. Hacking days are still not working, and many suggested we
could merge them with the main conference. We also need more room for
"private" meetings (chapters, staff, specific topics) in the whole
agenda. But I nevertheless think we did well this year.
Food was very cool, warm, always available. Just as drinks. It seems
easy, but I do not think it is so easy !
A couple of things I was impressed in
1) The Wikimania bag, with all the presents in. Very neat puzzle ball. I
also think the specialized Wikimania map was a fabulous idea. I have no
idea who had that idea, but it was a great idea
2) The constant presence of people available to help. I guess we all
felt very cared for. I did not see the Wikimania welcome team at the
airport (I was there too early), but many commented on this and loved
it. As for me, I remember that a few times, I was coughing as if I was
going to die, and I was amazed to find next to me someone with a tea. I
am not sure we will be able to do that again elsewhere (have this whole
group of volunteers to help), but it sure felt like heaven.
3) the big schedule. It was actually helpful. It creates a meeting
point. I think there is something to expand here, like a schedule
projected on the wall next year (so constantly updated). Or one with
movable elements, and a big ladder to go at the top and switch sessions.
[[edit your conference]] type.
4) the movie from the crew which travelled all over the world with
Jimbo. Was a lot of fun.
5) the wifi was working everywhere
One think I did not like
1) air conditionning is tooooooo low.
I think we need to work further on social events. In Frankfurt, people
loved dancing at the Wikimania party. We should have this in all
wikimania parties. After the movie :-) We need two rooms. One to chat
and one to dance.
I would like to extend a thank you to specific groups.
Not much mentionned, but I did not hear many complaints and it seems it
worked well :-)
I am not really sure who really took care of all this, but all the
decoration/signs etc... was very efficient. People knew where to go, the
big Wikipedia ball was a lot of fun. There were updated sheets in front
of each door. Hanging signs outside were great. Big sponsors panels as
well. Tags as well. All these things are the kind of things you only
really notice when they are messed.
I was introduced to the team. Nobody came to complain to me :-) So, I
presume all worked well ! congrats !
Installation and clean-up
I saw most of the installation during the board retreat. All seems to go
smoothly. As for clean-up, I just did not see it. I am sure many people
worked on that, and still, it was invisible. Amazing.
I suspect we are not fully done with the administration, but according
to what I saw, it seemed very efficient.
I am glad I met Frances. She handled all the interviews with great
mastery. There were individual rooms to do that, a daily updated
schedule, management of the requests, handling the modification, press
conference to organize. All of this was beautifully done.
Overall, the words that come to my mouth are efficiency and kindness.
The organization team offered us a great Wikimania. Thank you to all !
(every year, it becomes a more difficult challenge for the next one...)