To add to what Florence said, the opening day's press conference was one of
the most professionally organised parts of the event. All the stops were
pulled out to present the WMF to the press as an established and serious
The room used for the press conference should likely have been hijacked for
as many sessions as could have been fitted in it. Every desk had its own
power point and an RJ45 cable to get connected with. There was a microphone
with a push to talk button, and a pair of headphones. The headphones allowed
for simultaneous translation from English to Arabic, and vice versa.
The regional press were there in force, you could not have fitted another TV
camera into the back row. If I recall correctly, Florence commented in her
presentation later in the conference that some of the TV coverage prompted
people to turn up at the conference's second and third days to find out
Unfortunately, there was quite a bit of the standard fare in the Q&A - the
tired old "academics don't trust Wikipedia", and the one Jimmy was quick to
step on - conflating the WMF with Wikia. I can't comment on the interviews
after the main press conference, unlike Florence I got some lunch on the
first day. The mystery pasta dish was delicious, and I looked for it in vain
the remaining two days of the conference.
[mailto:email@example.com] On Behalf Of Florence
Sent: 29 July 2008 00:14
To: Wikimania general list (open subscription)
Subject: Re: [Wikimania-l] Comments
I certainly was a very lucky woman, since I was *pampered* in terms of
hosting and travel. So, I did not share your suffering regarding travel
between the two cities.
However, it seems a fair point to say that in the future, we should
choose a city where there is an international airport.
With regards to "outside" complaints, yeah, I was also a bit annoyed by
the persistence of some people; yeah, I was cheated with regards of
money several times (but I expected such thing in Egypt). I was also
harassed in an unexpected fashion the last day, and I did not appreciate
that at all. Airco was an issue two nights in a row and there was no
wifi in hotel (but eh, that's Africa). And yeah, information was often
I also regret we were all hosted in many different places, which did not
help finding each other.
In terms of "inside" complaints, my biggest one would go to the rather
unsufficient "community space" and "food/drinks".
People were delocalized on several levels so it was very difficult to
find each other. Unsufficient room to sit down for lunch. Worse for me:
lunch separated for "vip" and "regular". That was a killer for social
interactions, and vips could not go to "lunch meeting" with their lunch
box since they had no lunch box.
I naturally know why this was done this way. But I still find that a bad
idea. I do not think we should artificially separate "vips" and
"regulars". Or at least, we should be able to mix.
In previous years, the press conf was followed by a lunch in the room.
Not this year. Very unfortunate, because for me, it meant... no lunch at
all. By the time I got out of interviews, the lunch upstairs was closed.
I would suggest sticking to a very light and easy buffet after the press
Last, in Taipei light snacks and drinks were available all day long.
This year, only tea and coffee and a few cookies, at fixed times. Often,
sessions were late, so by the time one got out of the room, coffee break
was over. Only once did I succeed to get an out-of-schedule coffee (the
day I missed the coffee in morning, then missed the lunch, then missed
the coffee break in the afternoon), but it was really tough. Until I
found the source of softdrink for money, I had to drink most of my
liquid input during the day from the tap. A miracle I was not sick.
Still, the coffee guys were here all the time, but most of the time
simply not serving. It escapes me entirely why coffee, tea and bottle
water were not served freely during the entire event. Next year, we
should try to be sponsored by Starbucks, as we were by CocaCola in
Boston (I am SUPER serious here. We'll save huge amount of time not
running to the local starbuck...).
Beside this, I found all the local volunteers super useful, helpful, and
smiling. A real pleasure. The party was great ! I was also very pleased
by the presentation of wiki use by US gov, and really appreciated the
presentation about the flaggued revisions from Philip.
Rooms were confortable and of the right size (though, yeah, missing
plugs), there was all the equipement for the video record, and security
was not too heavy ;-)
I did not miss the tech sessions... however, I missed Mark.
Every Wikimania has its "very cool" and "not so good" sides. As far as
am concerned, the "very cool" have always outweighted the "not so
What made me the saddest this year were all the people being sick during
the event. I think more warning regarding food and water could have been
helpful. What made me the happiest was to see that the outreach was a
A question for the future though will be as to whether Wikimania will
focus on the "outreach" or on the "community gathering".
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