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.
On 08/25/2012 09:46 PM, Lodewijk wrote:I concur and I'm glad you brought this topic up.
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.
Wikimedians are not professionals, they are volunteers. Our community /is/ chaotic and a bit unorganized. It's fine if Wikimania reflects that.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.
That also means we can change the nature of bids: more back to basic and
more focus on location, venue and accomodation.
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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