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

Michael Snow wikipedia at earthlink.net
Fri Aug 18 05:19:55 UTC 2006

Delphine Ménard wrote:

> On 8/17/06, George Herbert <george.herbert at gmail.com> wrote:
>> And yet all those US people whose involvement in en.wikipedia.org is
>> significant and who should be allowed to come to a conference, if they
>> are interested.
>> The foundation has competing interests with the conference: one
>> predominantly huge-sized project, and the whole of everything
>> including the much smaller ones and the global picture.
>> If the interests of the two collide to some degree, there are
>> solutions: split the conference into World and US conferences,
>> dual-track the conference, etc.
> I am not sure I understand you correctly, but I seem to read that you
> are hinting at the fact that the English Wikipedia is predominantely
> US contributors. If that is the case, and although I am not a
> contributor there myself, I believe this is forgetting the diversity
> of our biggest project. My take is there are enough international
> contributors who contribute to the English Wikipedia to never fall
> into a US/rest of the world kind of split, which at any rate, would
> seem to be an ultimate failure of Wikimedia ever pretending to any
> kind of international scope.

Actually, I think the confusion here might be because George may not 
have fully understood your earlier point to which he was responding. Not 
because of language issues, but experience. Specifically I mean that 
George didn't experience the people at Wikimania (at least I don't 
believe he was there, correct me if I'm wrong) and may have missed your 

Which was not, as I understood, a comment about competing interests 
between people involved in Wikimedia projects in the US and people 
involved in the same projects elsewhere. If I may restate it, the point 
was that for this year's Wikimania, as opposed to last year, many US 
attendees had no real personal connection to the projects. They were 
there for academics, or curiosity, or networking, or various other 
motivations. Nearly all of the international attendees were legitimate 
project participants. Meanwhile, many project participants *from the US* 
who might have wanted to attend undoubtedly could not, due to the same 
time/travel/cost difficulties that hinder international attendance.

Regardless of the numerical distribution by country, I'm confident that 
enough US contributors are committed to all projects, including the 
English Wikipedia, remaining *international* projects, that they would 
reject attempts to create such a split. Similarly, I believe that the 
international contributors to the English Wikipedia would reject it. We 
have to work together, or our mission will not succeed, in no small part 
because it would undermine our commitment to neutrality.

--Michael Snow

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