James, I completely agree with you. In fact, Ed Saperia is probably sick of hearing me say
I disagree with assertions that the UK bid team doesn't have that, and with
suggestions that WMUK is trying to substitute for this by throwing money around.
Phone: 024 7698 0977
From: James Hare <messedrocker(a)gmail.com>
To: Wikimania general list (open subscription) <wikimania-l(a)lists.wikimedia.org>
Sent: Sunday, 26 August 2012, 17:00
Subject: Re: [Wikimania-l] UK budget plan for 2014 Wikimania bid
On Aug 26, 2012, at 11:46 AM, WereSpielChequers wrote:
If I may suggest a practical resolution here, perhaps the jury for 2013 could clarify
what they meant when they criticised the London bid for not having strong support from the
UK chapter. If they thought that there was something non-financial that was missing in the
UK chapter's support for the London 2013 bid then now would be a good time to tell us
all. Otherwise please can those who don't want chapters spending lots of money on
Wikimania bids please communicate that publicly to the jury. There is little point
criticising the UK chapter for responding so positively to feedback from the 2013 jury.
Indeed. The winning bid for Wikimania 2012 had no financial support. It wasn't even
backed by a chapter; the chapter came later. What it did have though was the kind of
people power necessary to execute a bid.
And even with people power, it's always good to hire some outside help to fill in the
gaps. Many of us find it silly, though, to make that level of investment at the *bid*
As for paying the Wikimania host committee... I will say I personally would have
appreciated some kind of income because Wikimania, in its last couple of months, was
literally a full time job, but I feel like my relationship with Wikimania would've
changed if it had become a job and not this thing I was building from the ground up as a
labor of love. When you pay people, their work is different than if they volunteer.
This gets back to the people power of Wikimania. You can hire all the professionals in the
world. Over the past two days I checked the financial math on Wikimania and we spent
$61,430 on conference staffing. The lady with the silly wig? We would've died without
her. The two assistants she brought on who were even more experienced than she was? We
needed them too. The registration company who helped us order the name badges and run the
on-site registration? The hired hands who helped direct the flow of traffic and run the
store? The sign language interpreters? (Our volunteer who knew sign language was not
enough.) These are all people who help take a conference that was attended by over a
thousand Wikimaniacs and 300 Tech@Staters and make it work.
But these professionals all take orders from the core team of Wikimedia volunteers, who
are doing this not because they are paid to, but because they love Wikimania. And you have
to love Wikimania, or the energy is just not there. I don't see it working any other
Ideally I'd like to see a level playing field for all serious bids, including giving
active Wikimedians who are potential bidders grants to attend Wikimania. It might even be
worth the WMF giving each shortlisted bid a few hundred dollars for incidental expenses.
At the same time it would be best if we had a clear ruling from the Wikimania team that
despite what they said re London 2013, where chapters have professional staff and their
own budgets they should stand back, leave the bidding to volunteers and only involve
themselves after a bid succeeds.
I mean the whole bidding process is broken, but I'm not getting into that just yet.
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