[Foundation-l] (Flashback) A short (and revised) FAQ about Wikimania in Alexandria

Florence Devouard Anthere9 at yahoo.com
Mon Apr 21 13:07:37 UTC 2008

Mike Godwin wrote:
> Greg Maxwell writes:
>>  In the message I responded to you stated that the collection of
>> emergency contact information would present considerable privacy
>> concerns.   Here you seem to be suggesting that the foundation would
>> instead prefer to pass off the collection to a volunteer driven
>> project.  This seems like a completely inconsistent position, but
>> perhaps I just do not understand.
> I guess I'm both callous and inconsistent. Next thing you know I'll be  
> downright evil. (That's where you going, isn't it? Just admit it.)
> It should be noted that the concerns that have been raised to me, both  
> publicly and privately, are themselves inconsistent. Some people are  
> concerned about their privacy. Some are concerned about security. Some  
> are concerned about both privacy and security. Some are concerned  
> about neither. Some are concerned about wholly separate matters. Some  
> feel that they can't post publicly to this list without themselves  
> being criticized.
> So don't be surprised if you hear from me representations of  
> inconsistent concerns. This is not exactly a consistent crowd.  (News  
> flash!)
>> I'm at a bit of a loss as to what means could possibly be more
>> efficient and effective than simply adding a single additional field
>> to the official Wikimania registration form.  Could you please
>> elaborate?
> I can elaborate by saying that I think you have spent more time  
> responding to me than it might have taken you to come up with a  
> solution that addresses the concerns you state here. This strikes me  
> as callous.
> Is there a registration form somewhere that the Foundation has access  
> to, Greg, that you don't? I don't know of one. Have you considered  
> making your concerns known to those who are actually organizing the  
> conference, such as Delphine and the local team? (The Foundation is  
> only paying for it.)

I... no... I totally disagree here. The Foundation is not ONLY paying 
for it.

Actually, it is really hardly *paying*, because the past three 
Wikimanias have been a zero sum cost, or even made a tiny benefit (used 
for following Wikimanias).
The costs of Wikimania are supported by sponsors, participants, 
sometimes chapters, and lots' of good will (free work by wikipedians or 
by local organizations).
The major real costs for the Foundation are to pay for the participation 
of board members/staff members.
The Foundation is simply NOT paying for the conference. It is helping 
money to come in, and helping the money to come out.

However, paying is not really the issue.
It is probably boosting to say that Wikimedia Foundation is organizing 
Wikimania. This is not really true, most events have been organized by 
the Wikimania teams.

What Wikimedia Foundation is really doing is facilitation.
It facilitates in providing the right to use the brand.
It facilitates in providing access to a bank account and means to pay.
It facilitates in "lending" staff or contractors (be it Delphine to help 
coordinate, or Jay to help with Press and communication, or Mike for the 
security assessment etc....)
It facilitates in providing reassurance to sponsors


Facilitation is an important role. Probably essential. The Conference of 
the America was cancelled precisely because the Foundation could not 
(would not) play this role of facilitator.

I would also largely say that facilitating should be the ONLY role of 
the Foundation.


>> Some of the earliest concerns about safety were raised after the
>> safety advice provided by the local team were found to be in direct
>> contradiction with advice provided by professional travel agents (in,
>> particular with respect to advisable dress for women).
> I don't know what you are attempting to refer to here. (The issue of  
> "advisable dress for women" is also addressed in the INTERNATIONAL  
> STUDENTS GUIDE -- see below.)
>>  It was the
>> belief of some, myself included, that although the local team has the
>> greatest access to information they may, understandably, not be the
>> most objective parties available to assess the risks and mitigations
>> specific to their region and its local cultures.
> I love the passive voice.
> I have twice forwarded to the list a link to resources for foreign  
> students attending the American University in Cairo.  It addresses  
> many and perhaps most of the concerns raised by those who worry about  
> the local team's advice.  Did you bother to read it?  It's still here:
> <http://www.aucegypt.edu/StudentLife/StudentServices/isso/Pages/InternationalStudentHandbook.aspx 
>  >
>> With that in mind I hope you can understand why some people are
>> dissatisfied that the foundation's response to concerns about safety
>> is to restate that those issues have been delegated to the local team.
> That is not at all what I said. If you are going to attempt to  
> paraphrase me, please don't just make stuff up. I neither stated nor  
> restated that safety issues "have been delegated to the local team."
>> Given the large volume of mail that has already been exchanged on this
>> subject I do not expect that a uniformly agreeable fully solution will
>> be found.
> Thank you for your efforts in forging agreement. I feel much more  
> agreeable now.
> I look forward to further interrogation. Uh, I mean, constructive  
> suggestions.
> --Mike
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