[Foundation-l] Wikimania 2008 and reflecting on what Wikimania is all about

Delphine Ménard notafishz at gmail.com
Thu Aug 17 13:03:25 UTC 2006

I have read the numerous comments on the fact that we should be
planning Wikimania well in advance, and I fully agree that choosing
the city for Wikimania 2008 sometime at the end of 2006 or beginning
of 2007 makes perfect sense, and we have started working on it.

Just for the record though, Wikimania 2006 was only the second
edition, and I wish people would remember that when planning 2006, we
did not even know whether it was going to happen at all. So please
keep that in perspective. There is room for improvement, and I believe
Wikimedia has done a good job in trying to keep everyting into
consideration for the next editions.

On the subject of size. I am personally not in favour of an
*international Wikimedia conference* (keywords international and
Wikimedia) that will hold more than 500 people, ever. The reason for
this were clear last year, but even clearer this year, ie. opening the
conference to 1000 people makes it, in my opinion, lose the
"Wikimedia" touch, by bringing many people in who have in the end
nothing to do with Wikimedia. Mind you, I find the interaction with
other organisations and people with different web, collaborative,
knowledge experiences very fruitful and interesting, but this year
showed a trend that I wish we did not facilitate too much. There were
many many local (as in US) people who had but a far fetched interest
in our projects, and thus did not pertain to the "Wikimedia Community"
or had no intention of ever pertaining to it.

My dream is that Wikimedia got their hands on enough money in due time
to provide scholarships to far away contributors wherever they may be
and make sure that the core attendance of the conference is filled
with Wikimedians.

Basically the real question is what do we want Wikimania to be? Is it
the ultimate wiki conference? Is it the Wikimedia conference? Is it a
free knowledge or access to knowledge conference? Is it an open source
conference? Is it all of that? Some of that?

In my opinion, and in an ideal world, Wikimania would probably almost
be booked solid before registration even happens, because we have
managed to bring in all the people that count in the Wikimedia

I would hate to see Wikimania be taken away from the Wikimedians. I
would hate for it to be so big that you would not have a clue who this
or that person is, or worse, that some people would come to Wikimania
and ask "what is Wikipedia?".
I believe we have shown the world that we can put together interesting
programs and that we should use this opportunity to make sure we
provide different events, aiming at different publics. I would love to
see a Wikimedia Academic Conference, or a Wikimedia Wiki Practices
Conference. I would also love to see more regional Wikimedia
conferences, such as the Chinese and Dutch edition this year who would
bring together people who did not make it to the international
conference or who need to concentrate in a language or on specific

In short, I do not think that Wikimania would benefit from becoming a
huge thing that everyone would attend because they happened to be in
the neighborhood.



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