[Wikimedia-l] The next Wikimedia Conference (AKA "Chapters' Meeting")

Asaf Bartov abartov at wikimedia.org
Fri Aug 30 14:45:20 UTC 2013

Hello All:

Following our most recent, successful, community gathering in Hong Kong - A
BIG thank you, again, to everyone who made it such an event to remember -
we are looking ahead to the annual Wikimedia Conference (AKA Chapters'

As many of you know, we typically await the offer of a specific group to
host the event each year.  While this process has more or less worked in
the past, we are increasingly aware that waiting until close to the
gathering to decide on the date and the location creates an unnecessary
inconvenience to those planning to attend and results in higher fees for
travel and lodging that could be avoided if we worked together to plan
further ahead.

Wikimedia Deutschland had helpfully started a conversation about the future
of the Wikimedia Conference, on Meta[1], including the question of settling
the host group.  Regrettably, there has been practically no engagement with
that page so far.  (For my part, I have deliberately been waiting for a few
movement groups to speak first, as I wanted to avoid "priming" the
conversation with the (perceived) weight of WMF's voice.)

It has occurred to us that two of the reasons that we are not able to plan
further ahead may be 1. the somewhat vague nature of the planning process
and 2. that groups who may want to host hesitate because of an uncertainty
regarding the costs involved in hosting such a large event.

Therefore, we would like to provide some basic information about the
Wikimedia Conference and begin a community conversation regarding how me
might work together to set the date and location by, say, November of the
year preceding the event; thus giving those who want to attend plenty of
time to plan and saving the movement and each of the groups the higher cost
of last minute lodging arrangements and airline ticket purchases.

Additionally, planning ahead will allow all of the chapters who wish to
send participants to contribute to the agenda for the gathering; thus
making sure that all of the issues that the participants would like to
discuss are addressed at this annual conference.

*==First a bit about the purpose of the Wikimedia Conference==*
*An opportunity for Wikimedia movement organizations to meet face-to-face
and share ideas about projects and practices and to discuss any unresolved
issues that may have come up during the past year.
*A venue for one of the quarterly Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees
meetings and an opportunity for the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees
and Wikimedia movement organizations to meet and talk.
*A venue for the Funds Dissemination Committee to meet to assess the
funding proposals for Round 2 of the current year and provide
recommendations on those proposals to the WMF Board.

We thought that beginning a discussion regarding "hosting requirements"
i.e. venue size, accessibility of lodging near the venue, handicapped
accessibility, ease of air and ground transit in and out of the venue
location, visa application process, Internet access, catering capabilities,
and chapter and volunteer support available to organize the conference and
to provide support during the conference itself, would be helpful.

To help facilitate the discussion, we have provided some information
regarding past chapter meetings that may be useful for chapters considering
the possibility of hosting for 2014 and beyond.  For those who have hosted
in the past, some of this will be repetitive (and you may have input to
add) for those who have not, please feel free to send along any questions
you may have that are not covered in the information provided

*==Logistical Needs for the Annual Wikimedia Conference==*
*A meeting venue that can accommodate a group of 200 - 250 attendees
*Lodging either at the meeting venue or nearby to accommodate 200 - 250
*Smaller meeting rooms at the venue to accommodate the Board Meeting and
the FDC deliberations (rooms to hold approximately 15 people).
*Reliable Internet access at both the venue and the lodging facilities.
*Adequate either staff or volunteer support to secure the facilities,
coordinate the conference and assist attendees in the visa application
process as needed
*Access to international travel ports no farther than an hour's ground
travel (train/bus/taxi/car) from the conference venue
*Adequate support facilities - restaurants, print/copy shops, medical
facilities, electronics stores no farther than 30 minutes ground travel
from the conference venue

*==Financing a Wikimedia Conference==*
*Ideally, groups that send delegates to the Wikimedia Conference are
responsible for financially supporting those who attend - including all
lodging, travel and non-conference meals.  In practice, that has never been
possible so far, and groups that do not have funding for attending (often
acquired by budgeting for it in a broader WMF grant) are supported by the
hosting group (again, possibly funded by a WMF grant to the hosts)
*The Wikimedia Foundation is responsible for financially supporting the
participation of Foundation staff, FDC Members and WMF Board Members -
including all lodging, travel and non-conference meals.
*To enable more chapters to offer their city/country as the hosting entity,
the Foundation has made the decision to financially support the hosting
expenses for the Wikimedia Conference itself; to include the cost of the
main conference venue and miscellaneous meeting rooms, the cost of internet
access at that venue, the cost of meals provided at the conference venue
during the conference for all participants and any group ground transit
needs related specifically to the meetings at the conference.  Additional
reasonable/miscellaneous costs may also be covered per discussions between
the hosting groups and the Chief of Finance and Administration at the WMF
offices in San Francisco.

We look forward to any and all input and suggestions as we work together to
refine the planning and execution of the annual Wikimedia Conference.

Thank you,

[1] https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Future_of_the_Wikimedia_Conference
    Asaf Bartov
    Wikimedia Foundation <http://www.wikimediafoundation.org>

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