Hello Wikimania team,
Wikimainia is only 30 days away now and things are getting very busy on our
side in Cape Town now.
Here are a couple of updates that have happened since my last email. As I
write this email it is raining hard which I feel is a great omen.
The program committee has released the program
<https://wikimania2018.wikimedia.org/wiki/Program> for the main event at
I want to thank the Program Committee and the co-chairs (Liam, Emna and
Felix) for managing and producing a great program for Wikimania this year.
You all did a great job!
I want to send out an especially big thanks to Liam for taking the lead and
managing the Herculean task of wrestling with the ironically named Easy
Chair system and with AirTable to get the program organised. Liam also did
a great job as the main point person for organising the program team.
We will get the pre-conference events up on the program soon as well.
We have gotten a huge response for volunteers (103 responses) with a large
number of high quality applications (largely measured as the number of
people with past conference volunteer experience). Our contacts within the
University of Cape Town really came through and we also got some great
applications from there. Raymond and I have already done a preliminary
check of the list. Raymond and Erin Lacey (WMF) will be getting back to
successful applicants within the next week or two.
Due to a shortage of space for meetups at the conference venue and due to
the super abundance of very nearby locations to have events at we have
decided to encourage people to host their meetups at locations offsite.
There are a large number of restaurants, coffee shops, bars, within a
hundred meters from the venue. Some of them stay open late. I have made a
helpful map of such locations that you can see here
I want to give another big thank you to Blanca Flores (WMF) and James Hare
(WMF) for helping out so much with the reworking of our website. Blanca
did a great job of working on the design aspects and James pulled it all
together. We have simplified the site and changed the look and feel. You
will also notice the new logo which pays homage to Zulu bead work.
==My current focuses==
* Getting locals to attend as part of our outreach efforts within South
Africa. My focus has been on a diverse group of people ranging from
Librarians, to university academics, government officials, copyright
activists, civil society, GLAM partners, educators, and students.
* Monitoring the 50% discount system for South African attendees
* Publicity for Wikimania - I am doing a number of press interviews to
publicise Wikimania in the South African media.
* Water sustainability event(s) - Given the water situation in Cape Town we
have decided to have water sustainability as a focus for a number of
Wikimania events. It is an issue that will very likely affect more cities
in the future so it would be same to 'waist' this crisis in the context of
Wikipedia. I am currently working on at least one edit-a-thon with a strong
water focus to be the Wikimania edit-a-thon that will take place on the
Thursday before the main conference begins on the Friday. I am already in
talks with the adviser who is in charge of the civil society aspect of the
City of Cape Town's water crisis outreach efforts to make this event
happen. We hope to organise multiple water focused events at Wikimania but
we will see how it evolves. Please let me know if you would like to get
involved in helping organise this or have any ideas. Once this has reached
a certain point of development I will be handing this project over to
Rossouw van Rooyen to implement it during the conference.
* Dealing with Plenary Speakers - all three speakers have given me their
speaking titles and I am just getting the last of their biography details
(pictures and written bios) as well as their speech descriptions.
* Opening and closing sessions at Wikimania. The closing session is
largely sorted out. As for the opening session I am just trying to sort
out a few details but otherwise it is also looking good.
==List of responsibilities==
An updated, non-exhaustive and current list of team point person
responsibilities can be found here
==General team requests==
One thing we all as team members need to focus on for the next week or two
is outreach and getting local (South African) attendance up. So please let
all of your South African, and especially Cape Town based, contacts know
about the event. We really want to see more locals attending Wikimania.
With this in mind 80 complementary tickets to local Wikimedians and key
partner groups have already been given out to attend Wikimania. We are
unfortunately out of complementary registrations but South Africans can
still claim a 50% discount when attending Wikimania this year. Lets push
this and let the world know.
Overall everything so far seems to be on track and going well.
Douglas Ian Scott
South African mobile number: +27 (0)79 515 8727