[Foundation-l] Floating a notion: permanent Wikimania committee?

Sue Gardner sgardner at wikimedia.org
Thu Jun 17 19:06:56 UTC 2010

Hi folks,

For several years now, people have occasionally floated the notion
that there should be a permanent Wikimania oversight committee –
basically, a group of people responsible for giving some coaching and
guidance and oversight to the local planning team each year.  Over the
years, support has been offered each year by people like Phoebe, James
Forrester, Delphine (Delphine both in her staff role and as a
volunteer) and SJ … but there has never (AFAIK) been a formal
oversight committee.  I think there probably should be.

I've been talking about this idea with a few people over the past
several months.  Based on those conversations, I'd propose a mixed
committee of volunteers and staff, with a small membership – let's
say, five or so people.  Ideally the people would remain on the
committee for several years, and would have experience with past
Wikimanias.  The role of the committee would be to provide coaching
and guidance for the local planning team (“here is how we've done it
in past years, here's what usually works, here are some problems you
should watch out for”) … and also to provide oversight to the local
team, and help them course-correct if they're having problems.
Essentially, the committee would be responsible for helping to ensure,
in partnership with the local team, that every Wikimania is a success.

I want to reiterate that I (and I think we all) see Wikimania as a
volunteer-led event.  The Wikimedia Foundation plays a fairly small
role --- it is its biggest sponsor, and it supports it in various
ways.  But Wikimania is a community event, which I don't think should

I'd like to throw this out for discussion, and also ask people to
self-nominate if they're interested in being on such a committee.  If
everyone interested will be at Gdansk, the best next step may be to
arrange a face-to-face meeting there to figure out how best to do
this.  And I warn Phoebe via this note (although I'm sure she can
anticipate it), I will be aiming to pull her in to help think it
through, since she has been one of the most consistently-active
planners/organizers, at pretty much every Wikimania so far.

I'm interested in everyone's views on this, and I'd be particularly
interested in hearing from the people who've been involved in past
Wikimanias, and also from the Haifa people, to hear if this'd be
useful for them for 2011.


Sue Gardner
Executive Director
Wikimedia Foundation

415 839 6885 office
415 816 9967 cell

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