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

Ray Saintonge saintonge at telus.net
Thu Aug 17 19:44:49 UTC 2006

Delphine Ménard wrote:

>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.
Perhaps the cities who are about to make bids could indicate a 
preference for 2007, 2008 or even 2009.  There seems to be some informal 
support for a three region rotation, but no-one would be so insistent as 
to force it upon a region that does not want it or is incapable of 
providing a basic infrastructure for Wikimania.  By the time Wikimania 
2007 rolls around it might be possible to have the 2009 list reduced to 
serious candidates, and the attendees in 2007 could contribute their ideas.

>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.
These are all important factors, and although I would not want to jump 
to judgement about the optimum size.  Perhaps a local quota of 50% might 
help.  I found it mildly annoying to ask someone his user name, only to 
find out that he did not edit at all.  Perhaps that might be solved with 
another quots, at least the very simple solution of a different name 
badge colour for Wikimedians and unaffiliated visitors would help.

Some have also suggested a Problem Solving Day, probably on the Thursday 
if we continue with the same format.  This would be closed to all but 
Wikimedians.  As I understand it this day between Hacking Days and the 
main conference is already used by developpers to discuss their 
technical problems.  This day could also be used to equal advantage by 
other interest groups.  (Thinkers' Thursday? :-) )

>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.
That would be nice, as would serious help with visas.

>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?
This topic could fill a conference session, and is probably the kind of 
thing that should be scheduled.

>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
Including the ones from the developed countries?  As someone who 
travelled from the opposite coast of North America there are still 
personal budgetting considerations that can delay taking positive steps 
to register.

>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.
At least one day in the conference that is more public than the others 
can help.  That can be the day for keynote speeches or for revealing 
policy initiatives that need to be publicized.


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