The cost has gone markedly up in the past few years. Scholarships don't really cover that, when who this is going to most affect is newcomers and less active contributors in the actual area whose voices we are particularly unlikely to hear at any other events/locations. These are not the people who are likely to be applying for scholarships in the first place (often they don't even think they'd deserve it to begin with), and requiring it of them now provides a much greater barrier to entry if they even realise they need to do so by the scholarship deadline.

Has this basic reality been addressed? Are there plans to better mitigate this in the future? The overall cost of a Wikimania has ever been subsidised by all sponsors, but now it seems in particular that the target audience has simply changed to largely exclude those of lower income by default. A higher or lower cost doesn't particularly impact those who can afford it, but for those who can't, it's an outright blocker. Even in sweden and the surrounding area we have many contributors who are not exactly well-off, and for next year, if the costs remain consistent, the impact is likely to be far greater.


On 11/06/2019 19:13, Joël Letang wrote:
Hi everyone,

The concerns that have been raised here have, for the most part, been well addressed by those of you with event planning experience (thank you!). Still, I thought it was important to add some clarity and context where possible.

As some of you have mentioned, all Wikimanias are heavily subsidized by the Foundation, and only a small portion of the overall cost is passed on in the form of registration. Stockholm is more expensive than other locations, and the price of hosting the event at Stockholm University is comparable to that of any large event space, which is why the pricing is similar to Wikimania Montreal. However, while location is a factor in the overall cost of the event, we do try to mitigate fluctuations in registration price as much as possible.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, even as costs have fluctuated, the number of scholarships awarded has indeed remained fairly constant over the last few years. Scholarships are a critical element of promoting equity and inclusion at our events. For many, an inability to attend is not due to the price of registration itself, but rather the travel and accommodations, and providing support for that will remain a top priority.

Thanks for your interest in Wikimania and the planning process.

Joël L. 

Joël Letang (he/him)
Events Team Manager 
Wikimedia Foundation

On Sun, Jun 9, 2019 at 2:20 PM Peter Southwood <> wrote:

I am in a similar position. I went to one Wikimania – it was in my home city, so I commuted in each day. I am unlikely to be able to attend another. The money would be better spent on other things that are more necessary. This is probably pretty average. It was worth attending that time because it was affordable. For most Wikimedians it is not worth attending because it is not affordable, and we prefer being able to eat regularly and sleep under a roof.




From: Wikimania-l [] On Behalf Of CS
Sent: 09 June 2019 11:11
To: Wikimania general list (open subscription)
Subject: Re: [Wikimania-l] Wikimania 2019 Early Bird Registration is Now Open!


My  position  is the same as that  of One/Risker, except  that  I  am  a retiree on  a small   budget.

I  have self-financed all but  one  of my  Wikipedia trips, but roughly  $3,000 for  a trip  to Sweden for  me  is totally  out  of the question.

While I realize that  opportunities need to  be extended to  new and curious users, some of us have worked very  hard for  Wikipedia over the years, (and been on  the scholarships committee), and for  the kind of work  we do, meeting  our  colleagues and the WMF staff  face-to-face  is indispensable. 

Not  being able to  attend does not  encourage further dedication  to  Wikipedia.

The scholarships committee should take into account the personal financial effort made by attendees of several conferences.

In  my  opinion, as not  all  users come from  wealthy  countries such  as  North America  or Europe, Wikimania should be held in more easily  accessible and lower cost  venues. 



On 4 Jun 2019, at 13:10, Risker <> wrote:


I've been extremely lucky over the years to have attended several Wikimanias. I live in Canada (so almost never needed a visa) and had the financial flexibility to do so. I've paid my own way to some, been subsidized for others with clear expectations that I would carry out certain activities in exchange, and received one partial scholarship (which was supposed to be enough for my airfare - if I had booked it seven months in advance...).  Even when I've been subsidized, I've had out-of-pocket expenses that I did not receive reimbursement for until months later (if at all), but I am blessed not to have to worry about whether there will be food on the table or a roof over my head. We in the Western world are used to having paid vacation time - often multiple weeks per year - and that is another barrier for people in other countries with different cultures and economies. And many people from Europe and North America don't need to go through the expense and challenge of obtaining visas to most of the Wikimania or other conference locations.


But hundreds - no, thousands - of dedicated contributors aren't in my/our position.  Even if they are lucky enough to get a full scholarship, they can't afford the time off work, or get the visa, or cover the upfront costs of the travel experience that may or may not be reimbursed.  They tend to be in locations far from wherever Wikimania may be, so paying out of their own pocket is much more expensive than if they were living in Europe or North America. Their voices are the ones we miss the most at our conferences and Wikimanias - and their absence makes it that much more challenging to help grow new communities. 


There will be people who won't be at Wikimania this year because for non-Europeans it is very expensive to get to and stay in Sweden.  If my trip this year was not being subsidized (and I have written responsibilities in exchange for that subsidy), I would not be going to Wikimania this year; even a "rich Westerner" finds it too costly.  


I don't think that the baseline conference fee is out of line with what real expenses will be for Wikimania.  It's an expensive place and, even if the university is substantially cutting its fees for food and room rentals, it's still going to cost an awful lot of money.  In an ideal world, everyone who wanted to attend would be subsidized, but I'm realistic enough to know that if we as a movement were to do that, the conference would be even more heavily weighted with voices from Europe and North America. 






On Tue, 4 Jun 2019 at 00:29, Wilfredo Rodríguez <> wrote:

There must be a coherent explanation. It is possible that there is an alliance that we can not see between WMF and the university so that WMF receives the surplus in donations that will be cleanly used.


On Mon, Jun 3, 2019, 22:01 Paulo Santos Perneta, <> wrote:

We are talking about a very dramatic increase in the fee in the last few years, not about universities doing events for free. And it is quite hard to understand how come an event on campus as a fee similar to the ones organized at a five star hotels. 



A segunda, 3 de jun de 2019, 22:55, Kerry Raymond <> escreveu:

Well, as someone who has worked at a number of universities and organised events at others, I am well aware that many universities are short of cash and expect to be paid by others to use their facilities so I would not assume that being “on campus” is a free or low-cost venue for Wikimania. A university *may *decide that an event is sufficiently in-line with their own goals that they may reduce/waive the cost, but holding events at  a university does incur real additional costs to the university, such as cleaning and security at a minimum, so it is not unfair to charge for their use.




From: Wikimania-l [] On Behalf Of Paulo Santos Perneta
Sent: Monday, 3 June 2019 8:21 PM
To: Wikimania general list (open subscription) <>
Subject: Re: [Wikimania-l] Wikimania 2019 Early Bird Registration is Now Open!


Sorry, in the first sentence it should read "wikimania" , not "Wikimedia" 

A segunda, 3 de jun de 2019, 11:19, Paulo Santos Perneta <> escreveu:

For us in Portugal joining wikimedia, even in a relatively close city like Stockholm, without a scholarship stands at a minimum cost of 1000€, which really is a prohibitive cost for the great majority of people here, corresponding to way more than a regular full month wage (two minimum wages, actually).


25% of that cost corresponding to fees that even wikimedia volunteers have to pay does seem quite obscene to me.


If a significant amount of the cost is going to fancy luxury hotels and parties - those last ones barred to wikimedians below 18 years, in this years event - this really should be something to be reviewed. Also, I agree that it is quite difficult to understand such an high fee in this year wikimania, where most of the stuff seems to be organized on campus.




A segunda, 3 de jun de 2019, 00:32, Gnangarra <> escreveu:

As has in previous years been suggested if we want Wikimania to be truly inclusive and encourage more people to attend then the WMF should just extend the fundraising by a week and use that to subsidise the event making it more accessible to everyone. 1,000 particiants at 250€ is just an extra 250,000€ to collect, collecting enough to allow 200 scholarships would enable greater participation from more communities.


On Mon, 3 Jun 2019 at 03:16, Mykola Kozlenko <> wrote:

In 2015, 2017 and 2018 we had Wikimanias in really upscale hotels. I can perfectly understand why renting conference rooms and arranging catering for all participants in a Sheraton or a Hilton is expensive. For instance, Montréal experience in 2017 was pretty much worse 233 USD indeed given that we were in a centrally-located Sheraton.


This year we are having a Wikimania on a university campus. Yes, Stockholm is an expensive city, but Montréal is not really cheap either. I can't really understand how a university campus in Stockholm is more than 50% more expensive than a Sheraton in Montréal.


I don't say I want these costs unbundled, I am happy to pay for the full experience, but with a price tag that high I would really like to know where all this money will go.


Best regards,

Mykola (NickK)

--- Оригінальне повідомлення ---
Від кого: "Isarra Yos" <>
Дата: 2 червня 2019, 18:19:17


On 01/06/2019 19:44, effe iets anders wrote:
> You're claiming that this year is a higher rate than usual, I don't 
> think this is actually true. Some context:
> - 2016: 500 euro, but this included accommodation and full board
> - 2017: 315 CAD (~233 USD)
> - 2018: 275 USD
2016 is indeed when it first went up, but even then the 500€ value was 
fairly consistent with how much one could expect the whole thing to cost 
when including fairly decent food and accommodation. What was concerning 
was that then the cost stayed relatively high, without any of the 
included stuff - if the 250€ is only the registration price, there's not 
much to decouple. For instance, is there any food to not include? Lunch 
being included has pretty much always been standard, for good reason, 
and we're not doing breakfast and dinner for everyone in the first 
place, are we? (As I recall, 2015 did include dinner, though, which may 
indicate part of why it was also more expensive.) And even in terms of 
fanciness, I'm not sure how much value that has, or if they even have 
been meaningfully more so than they used to be. Comparing to the 
Wikiconference USA/NA events I attended some of the same years (I don't 
think any were over $50, definitely not more than $100), the Wikimanias 
were mostly just... bigger. Higher volume.
For reference, prior wikimanias cost the following for Wikimedians:
2015: $95
2014: £50.00
2013: $45
2012: $35
2011: $45
2010: 30-40€
2009: $45
2008: $45
2007: $40-60
2006: $90
2005 I can't find, but it was the first and thus organised a bit differently
So what happened? How is 250€ now not a lot of money? The first 
Wikimania I attended was in 2012 and my entire budget was $500, which 
was basically my holiday budget for the year. I was a student from a 
poor background, and a lot of our contributors are students. Quite a few 
of our contributors aren't exactly upper class, or from countries with 
great conversion rates. Should we really be requiring them to get 
special support now to even register for the main event for what is 
supposed to be a world-wide, inclusive movement?
250€ is a quite a lot of money. Other things to attend may still cost 
around the same or more, but if we also need to spend it on those 
things, we're not going to have that money left to spend on the 
registration as well.
-I (and the same page 
on other years)
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