I'm simply baffled in the way the Committee has just decided to explicitly
reduce the participation from the so-called Global South, specially when we
are supposed to promote the communities in those countries. Although I
agree and understand that places with bigger communities should host
Wikimania more often, the decided rotation is more unbalanced that in the
past. Since 2009, Wikimania has rotated between the Global North and the
Global South each year; now, the Global North will have 2 Wikimanias for
each one hosted in the Global South (and I'm not considering the case of
developed countries -such as Poland or Australia- hosting those years with
the weird classification others have pointed out).
Considering this rotation system, one of 21 countries from Latin America
will only have an opportunity to host in 2035, while the US will have the
opportunity 7 times in the same timespan. Absurd.
2015-10-04 18:01 GMT-03:00 aude <aude.wiki(a)gmail.com>om>:
On Oct 4, 2015 8:10 PM, "James Forrester" <jdforrester(a)gmail.com> wrote:
TL;DR: The Wikimania Committee and the WMF Community Engagement
department will be
working on coming up with a new process for venues for
future Wikimanias, which we will be seeking input from the community in the
next few months
At the Committee’s meeting in Mexico City in August, we agreed to alter
that Wikimania locations are decided.
The existing bidding process has developed over time. It has become
hard work for the community and staff. It demands that people
pour a huge amount of effort into building local teams, contracts and
institutional relationships only for rejected bids' work to be left unused.
A lot of pressure is put on volunteers to try to work on logistics rather
than dream about what would make a great programme for our communities.
Each year, the jury has to decide on a venue based on what is presented by
each group divisively, rather than what we as a community could come
together and build.
The process is too short-term, setting out venue much less than two
(often only just more than twelve months in advance). This
greatly increases expenses when other similar conferences plan locations
out many years ahead. This makes it impossible for us to be strategic about
location, prevents us from arranging co-location with like-minded
conferences, and it means that some areas of the world are ignored when
they could provide great Wikimanias.
Consequently, from now on the Committee will pick an area for Wikimania
five years in advance, from the following (provisional) list. The
years in which we have already held Wikimanias in these areas are shown in
* Western, Northern, and Southern Europe (2005, 2014)
* Canada and United States (2006, 2012)
* Asia-Pacific (2007, 2013)
* Middle East and North Africa (2008, 2011)
* Latin America (2009, 2015)
* Eastern Europe, Russia, and Central Asia (2010)
* South Asia (none yet)
* Sub-Saharan Africa (none yet)
* Oceania (none yet)
The Committee intends to deliberately rotate between these areas to make
allow as many community members to attend as cheaply as possible.
The large majority of our community members are based in either North
Europe; organising Wikimanias in these areas allows the majority
of our community members to attend cheaply, so that money spent on
scholarships can go further, and be more focussed in supporting our
community members wherever they are based.
Locating Wikimania in other continents does not assure that participants
these areas can attend more cheaply. Nevertheless, to support the
movement worldwide, we do want to ensure that, every third year, Wikimania
will take place neither in Europe nor North America.
We propose that a sequence of "Western, Northern, and Southern Europe",
"Canada and United States", and one of the others every three years, picked
out several years into the future.
I am not convinced this is a good idea, given this definition of regions.
Eastern Europe should definitely be considered along with western,
southern, ... It is pretty cheap to travel there from elsewhere in europe,
probably venue + accommodations are cheaper, and most important we have
significant communities there with track record of organising regional
I would also be tempted to include north Africa and middle east with
europe. (after all, the next European hackathon is being held in Israel)
I also think having wikimania in Canada + US every three years is too
often. The visa process for the US is hugely annoying, difficult and
results in excluding attendees.
Also, while great and important to have wmf support for wikimania, imho it
is important that ultimate leadership for wikimania each year is from
volunteers. I am not sure the volunteer community in the US + Canada has
this capacity to be lead organizer every three years. Maybe once every four
years is reasonable, imho.
Also, stuff like accommodations tends to be a bit expensive in the US
compared to elsewhere, and flights within north America (especially Canada)
are also somewhat pricey in my experience.
Beyond the first two areas, we may not visit some as often as others. (I
have not listed Antarctica as an area to which we will rotate, which may
well be a disappointment to members of the British Antarctic Survey and
others in that location.)
More widely, we would like to encourage Wikimedia conferences as open,
and fun community meetups, alongside the annual Wikimania
conference. I know that several chapters run country-specific conferences
each year, which is a good move. I think that there should be at least one
annual Wikimedia conference in each of these areas. This would help newer
editors know that there are people like them nearby without requiring the
existence of, or putting too great a demand on, every national chapter or
other local affiliated body. In some areas like Africa where the distances
are great, multiple regional conferences may make sense.
As part of the new system of location selection, we will no longer have
'bidding' process. Instead, the Committee invites people interested in
leading or helping to run a Wikimania to contact us on-wiki, or via the
wikimania-l list. If you think that you know a great team, venue or concept
for holding Wikimania, in your area or anywhere else, please discuss the
possibilities with us. We will work with interested community members to
narrow down the selection to a particular venue.
Our next few locations will thus go like this:
* 2016: Western, Northern, and Southern Europe – Esino Lario in Italy
* 2017: Canada and United States – TBD
* 2018: TBD – TBD
* 2019: Western, Northern, and Southern Europe – TBD
* 2020: Canada and United States – TBD
* 2021: TBD – TBD
As you can see, as well as picking the 2017 venue in Canada or the
for which we have a candidate lined up, we need to select
very quickly the area for 2018, and after that, 2019 and beyond. There are
several areas we’ve outlined above that have never had a Wikimania, and
others where we have not visited for some time. We would love your thoughts
on the areas on which we should focus for 2018 and beyond. We’ll also be
asking in future for your thoughts about how to structure the programme of
each Wikimania to make it as good as it can be for you, for others, and for
our community overall.
James D. Forrester
Chair, Wikimania Committee
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