There is a risk of people adding too much into Wikimanias. I've been to
three Wikimania events and the most lost people I met were not those
editors who were at their first event - they fitted in well. The most lost
people I met were those who hadn't started editing yet. I'm very happy to
make time for such people, and in London we are holding events to introduce
potential editors to Wikimedia. But I don't think that such events are a
natural fit with wikimania, and I would suggest that we not promote
Wikimania to non-editors. Nor do I think that we should aim for Wikimania
to be an event for the press. Yes if there are journalists who are
interested and want to come by all means let them. Though I've yet to meet
a journalist who doesn't feel that they have some sort of professional duty
to out any Wikimedian they report on. But we shouldn't let Wikimania become
some sort of media event, though it will be difficult to avoid producing
any press releases from a Wikimania. An inwardly focussed event that
doesn't try to "raise its media profile" would be better than one that
considers press coverage to be a measure of its success.
As for costs we need to remember that for many if not most travel will be
the largest part of the bill, and when you include the cost of getting
there London becomes one of our cheapest potential venues. We just need to
make sure that the facilities and budget accommodation are as cheap as
London (or elsewhere near Heathrow) is capable of. But with the greying of
the pedia we need to cater both for those whose idea of
basic accommodation is a room with a bed and for those who are looking for
somewhere they can stretch out a sleeping bag.
One economy we can make based on last years Indian conference is that we
don't need WiFi everywhere. A designated WiFi free zone with coffee is a
useful part of a large meetup and it should save money if you can tell the
WiFi provider to designate the hardest coffee area to provide WiFi for as a
WiFi free zone.
What I'd like to see in a Wikimania bid is a commitment for e-involvement
and making things as multilingual as practical. We could do this by working
with chapters and other local groups so that for topics that people want to
get involved in we repeat the session online and in requested languages
with a translator working with the presenter.
On 27 August 2012 08:55, Tobias <church.of.emacs.ml(a)googlemail.com> wrote:
On 08/25/2012 09:46 PM, Lodewijk wrote:
Maybe the question should first be: what kind of
Wikimania do we want.
Personally, I would be totally happy with down scaling the conference a
bit. Less visitors (500-600), less events and less professional. Let it
be more volunteer focused, and yes, perhaps also a bit more chaotic.
I concur and I'm glad you brought this topic up.
Wikimedians are not professionals, they are volunteers. Our community /is/
chaotic and a bit unorganized. It's fine if Wikimania reflects that.
That also means we can change the nature of bids: more back to basic and
more focus on location, venue and accomodation.
We should also focus on making Wikimania more affordable. If that means
choosing cheaper locations that might be a bit less spectacular, that's
fine with me. I've always thought the charm of Wikimania stems from its
participants and not a particular venue.
Manuel (among others) is organizing WikiCon 2012, which will start in a
few days in Austria. The fee is only 10 Euro for the full conference (three
days), and that even includes meals and a place to sleep in a gym.
Last year's WikiCon was fantastic even though there was not an exotic
venue, a beach party, a wonderful port or a disco night in the center of a
large city. I'm not saying that I don't enjoy such events, nor that they
aren't parts of the positive memory I have of past Wikimanias, but
expensive and exotic events and locations should not be considered a "must"
for future Wikimanias.
Ps.: The WikiCon conference for german-speaking countries is a great
example of an event between the magnitude of million-dollar-events like
Wikimania and zero-dollar local community meetups. They work great, help to
get to know each other in real life (and to sort out differences) as well
as exchanging ideas and bringing the movement forward. You should have a
WikiCon in your country, too!
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