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Grants talk:IdeaLab/Towards a New Wikimania

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Towards a New Wikimania

Discussion

Thanks for coming to share your thoughts to help work towards an improved Wikimania!

Feedback on the two questions on this page can be provided either through a private Qualtrics survey or posted to the talk page sections below. Feel free to provide your responses in any language.

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Questions on Issue 1: Building shared understanding of Wikimania's valueEdit

Proposed value statement:

Gathering together at a movement conference helps to deepen and strengthen our relationships, both within our communities and as a global movement.

1. By collaborating together on project or in groups (e.g. User Groups, Committees). These projects or groups could be started or joined at a conference, or any time after the conference.

2. By sharing our experiences and learning from the experience of others.

3. By resolving issues, or making progress toward resolving issues. Face-to-face conversations give us an opportunity to talk about the issues of everyday wiki life (e.g. community policies, legal advice, user interactions, etc.), and how they could be addressed.

Is the proposed value statement consistent with your experience of Wikimedia movement conferences? What is missing?
  • The above statement is consistent with my experience of Wikimedia movement conferences. For me the point #2 resonates the most especially the "learning" part--Jarekt (talk) 14:08, 13 January 2016 (UTC)
    • I agree with Jarekt based on my berlin conference experience--DerekvG (talk) 12:28, 17 January 2016 (UTC)
  • On a broad perspective, I believe the points to be consistent with my experience of Wikimedia movement conferences. At the same time, I also believe that users may have specific concerns and Wikimania should help the users' in finding some solutions to their concerns, of course after evaluating the user problems and the validity aspect. For example, a user like me is interested in interviewing most proactive or award-winning Wikimedians across the globe, studying communities, events, etc. I have used the Wikimedia blog for this purpose. But I now feel that there is perhaps a need for some other avenue (may be a separate website or so) to effectively showcase the communities on a more aggressive basis.--Muzammil (talk) 18:20, 13 January 2016 (UTC)
  • I fully agree with point #2. For point #1, it's worth noting that a person can absorb just so much as well as talk to other participants for so much, time-wise, opportunity-wise (some are often "fully-booked"), and the fact that certain people might not be able to jump straight into intensive conversation let alone starting a collaboration immediately, and sometimes cultural difference that cannot be denied. So, yes I fully agree with the power of face-to-face interaction but knowing with whom I will be talking to or who should I approach is also very important, knowing what these individuals are working on, working with, if they would share same interests, etc (especially for new people attending such conferences for the first time this aspect I believe has not been properly facilitated). Point #3 might only lay some groundwork but resolving issues are very unlikely to be achieved in three days. Now that's my experience meeting with some 150 people from chapters/wmf/usergroups in the span of three days. Wikimania usually has more than 500 people, so that's obviously more challenging to actually get something out of these kind of large-scale meetings. 26Isabella (talk) 15:06, 18 January 2016 (UTC)
  • We fully support this value statement, although we think that some Wikimedia movement conferences are lacking some of the above mentioned aspects. Especially some Wikimanias were focussed on the main programme with its traditional presentations and unidirectional talks, while facilitated moments of sharing, social exchange and provision of guidance were missing. A true community conference, as Wikimania should be, needs to be a safe space in a creative, trustful atmosphere and should strive for providing an environment that includes newbies and old hands alike.
One aspect that this value statement does not mention is the question of whether Wikimania is understood to be a “tribal meeting” or an outreach event. Especially remembering the outreach efforts in London (Open Movements), but also in Mexico City (Digital Human Rights in Latin America) and Montréal (GLAM), it is worth discussing this issue. We, ourselves, are not sure whether using the Wikimania-once-in-a-country-chance for outreach aspects is useful or whether focussing Wikimania on (wiki-internal) community aspects is the best way to go; but we think that the movement should have a debate around this decision and come to a consensus. --Nicole Ebber (WMDE) (talk) & Cornelius Kibelka (WMDE) (talk) 16:01, 18 January 2016 (UTC)
  • This aspect is remarkable specially when as a organizer you need to talk to other entities to support or sponsor the event due it's hard to explain why someone needs to engage not a tribal meeting but the annual meeting of the 5th website of the world. Having Wikimania in a country is a unique opportunity to involve other external stakeholders in the Wikimedia movement. The statement can include this outreach impact. --ProtoplasmaKid (WM-MX) (talk) 20:04, 18 January 2016 (UTC)
  • ...
What do you think is the distinct value of Wikimania, something that cannot be done or easily achieved by another type of conference?
  • Other types of conferences have to have some theme, like users from some region or people involved in specific projects like GLAM. However we will never have conference on every niche out there, so global single Wikimania conference is the best way to met other people sharing the same wiki-universe niche. I also value highly meeting other people who are very exited about some corner of wiki-universe I have never heard about, something more easily done at large conference. --Jarekt (talk) 13:51, 13 January 2016 (UTC)
  • I personally feel that it is the global integration aspect of Wikimania that is unmatched by other events. In 2014, when I interviewed Indian Punjabi and Western Punjabi Wikipedians, I also proposed the Idea of a coming together of the two Wikipedia Communities which are essentially representing one language divided by two scripts. I was happy that in Wikimania 2015 one representative from each of the two communities met and explored avenues of further cooperation. Similarly, I was immensely happy to meet Wikimedians from various places and communities. I was also able to discuss outreach events as well as maintenance practices across communities on aspects such as stubs and bots - more so because I am a Sysop on one Wikimedia project and Reviewer on another. --Muzammil (talk) 18:33, 13 January 2016 (UTC).
  • I think that many of us underestimate the value of meeting other people face2face, we should not make that mistake. Online communication is most often written and that leads to misunderstandings. Written words have a different value then their spoken variant. This is what brings about demotivation and the feeling that wikipedia is a warzone rather then a collaborative project hence the falling contributor numbers and the lack of female participants.--DerekvG (talk) 12:29, 17 January 2016 (UTC)
  • Never been to Wikimania, but I imagine meeting and interacting with Wikimedia volunteers from all over the world who usually might just sit behind the computer and edit, and actually listen and learn from each other's experience in contributing to the movement. Basically, it's an open forum for celebrating our work together for free knowledge! 26Isabella (talk) 15:06, 18 January 2016 (UTC)
  • We think that a global community needs a globally focussed event, independent of its – to be defined – frequency. While many of our volunteers and staff are engaged in their local communities and manage local challenges, in such a global community there are issues that benefit from different points of view from all parts of the world. Wikimania brings together developers with editors, staff members with activists, WMF representatives with other movement organisations. Only an event with such a diverse audience can guarantee the badly needed exchange, learnings and cross community relations.
At the moment, movement conferences do have little connection between each other. What we need are ongoing thematic conversations throughout the year. At this point, Wikimania can (and should) work as the perfect ground for discussing global issues, present and exchange ideas with a wider scope. Wikimania is perfectly suited to gather these conversations about many Wikimedia community topics and can function as catalyst for future conversations. --Nicole Ebber (WMDE) (talk) & Cornelius Kibelka (WMDE) (talk) 16:03, 18 January 2016 (UTC)
  • Wikimania is an opportunity to understand the diversity of the movement, and to seek the opportunity to understand the thinking of certain actors in the movement who only you can read trough movement lists. Many conferences about volunteering or not taking place in the world every day are attended by people who are obligated. There must be a qualitative and quantitative value that we can show us what it's the positive value for have self-motivated assistants who attend the largest annual event of the movement that spend half of their time. Consider that at present, the process to obtain a Wikimania scholarships is for persons with a high level of Wikipedia or Wikimedia achievements, this situation by itself will attract valuable persons to the event with something to share and say. --ProtoplasmaKid (WM-MX) (talk) 20:18, 18 January 2016 (UTC)
  • ...
Do you have a story about something great that happened during or as a result of a Wikimedia movement conference?

Stories help highlight all great outcomes of movement conferences, and you can add to the collection of stories. Share your story below, or share it privately.

  • Walters Art Museum upload, metadata cleanup and categorization of 18 thousand files was accomplished by a team that self-assembled at GLAMcamp DC in 2012. --Jarekt (talk) 13:58, 13 January 2016 (UTC)
  • ...Despite not being invited to organize the Mexico City Wikimania, Wiki Learning was still able to make a significant impact with its presentation of its work, which got the attention of one of Mexico City's major newspapers, Reforma. This coverage has since been crucial with the administration of Tec de Monterrey to help support and grow wiki activities. Ill note that the reason we were able to present prominently was because the "normal" conference presentations were chosen by an international committee... although we have notable researchers in open education, research etc, and are the largest private university in Mexico, not one person from the Tec de Monterrey was invited to be a featured or plenary speaker.Thelmadatter (talk) 18:19, 14 January 2016 (UTC)
Comment Comment Leigh, that coverage you mention was planned during Wikimania and was one of the five reports we had from Reforma newspaper, a media who cover frequently our activities at WMMX. The Tec participation in the Universitarios magazine due their WEP activities was suggested by me. And AFAIK I was at a panel with Lourdes Epstein, who works at the school that employs you, and Paola Ricaurte had a cool participation and active involvement in the planning of the Education PreConference. The suggestions of local (also some international) speakers was curated by RedHD, an academic network with presence of many Tec and other university researchers from Spanish speaking countries. --ProtoplasmaKid (WM-MX) (talk) 20:39, 18 January 2016 (UTC)
  • I attended Wiki Conference India 2011. As a result of this participation, I have developed a personal rapport with many Indian language(s) Wikimedians. I often exchange on-Wiki communication and emails with them. --Muzammil (talk) 19:08, 13 January 2016 (UTC)
  • In 2012, Hindi Wikipedia Sysop Aniruddha attended Wikimania. During the course of the discussion on the village pump, I supported the idea of specific Conference devoted to Hindi Wikipedians. Because the Hindi Community is geographically dispersed, I had to struggle a lot to convince a face-to-face meeting of Hindi Wikipedians, including making a presentation before WMF team during WMF-India Community Consultation. I am glad that we were able to hold Hindi Wiki Sammelan Meet in February 2015. We hope to plan more such events and also evolve a more coordinated approach for promoting Hindi Wikipedia in the near future. --Muzammil (talk) 19:08, 13 January 2016 (UTC)
  • I met an award-winning Wikimedian on three Wikimedia Events, including Wikimania 2015. I interviewed him for a WMF blog and shared his editing experience with other Wikimedians. Another user suggested me interviewing a leading Wikipedian of English descent in a similar way, which I did. Sequential to this, I carried out community-interview for Doteli Wikipedia incubator project. Also in the pipeline is my interview of a leading middle-eastern Wikipedian whom I met in the recent Wikimania. --Muzammil (talk) 19:08, 13 January 2016 (UTC)
  • A Wikipedian expedited a bug for Urdu Wikipedia during Wikimania 2015. --Muzammil (talk) 19:08, 13 January 2016 (UTC)
  • Indic Meetup during Wikimania 2015 generated the idea of planning for a second pan-India Wiki Conference in 2016 and possibly the idea of aiming for Wikimania 2019 in India. --Muzammil (talk) 19:08, 13 January 2016 (UTC).
  • WikiArabia 2015 was a meeetup of Wikimedians from the Arab World and the Arabic speaking community held in Monastir, Tunisia. This conference was the catalyst for starting three new user groups: Wikimedians of the Levant, Iraqi Wikimedians, and Wikimedia MA! Several education programs (including one I'm overseeing) were conceived at WikiArabia. I cannot overstate the importance of regular meetups among Wikimedians in order to advance the cause. --Fjmustak (talk) 15:11, 15 January 2016 (UTC)
  • I got a glimpse of what the rest of the world doing to support the movement that my communities has not done and vice versa, as well as build network with people of the same interest who might lead to collaboration in the future 26Isabella (talk) 15:06, 18 January 2016 (UTC)
  • Three years ago, the Wikimania in Hong Kong was the perfect start for the Chapters Dialogue project. We were only able to kick-off a globally focussed project on a global Wikimedia community conference as Wikimania. We benefited from the most different points of view that influenced the roadmap of the project enormously. One year later, we presented the insights in front of a global audience.
Hong Kong was also the cradle of the Community Village, formerly known as Chapters Village: We initiated a place for Wikimedia organisations and groups to present themselves and share learnings as well as a central meeting point throughout the conference. The Community Village became an important part of Wikimania, be it in London or in Mexico City and we hope it will persist over the next years. --Nicole Ebber (WMDE) (talk) & Cornelius Kibelka (WMDE) (talk) 16:03, 18 January 2016 (UTC)
  • Wikimania 2010 was the place to the first face-to-face discussion of have a common cooperation initiative, Wikimedia Iberocoop, the first on the movement between Wikimedia pan regional organizations. --ProtoplasmaKid (WM-MX) (talk) 20:39, 18 January 2016 (UTC)

Questions on Issue 2: Rethinking the overall form of WikimaniaEdit

Option 1: Change to Global Rotation
Option 2: Change to Regional/Thematic Conferences
Option 3: Alternate years between Global and Regional/Thematic
Host Selection
  • No more bidding
  • Instead, move to rotational schedule, set 3-4 years out
  • WMF and Steering Committee select location and invite local communities to participate
  • Stop holding one big Wikimania for everyone
  • Instead, do more Regional / Thematic Conferences each year
  • Consider how we can build more connections between these regional/thematic events (perhaps virtually, or via ambassadors)
  • Hold a Global Wikimania every two years
  • In years without Global Wikimania, the movement puts more energy into regional/thematic conferences instead
  • Consider how we can build more connections between these regional/thematic events (perhaps virtually, or via ambassadors)

Program Setup

  • Program Chair is appointed by Steering Committee, taking location into account; WMF has approval as funder
  • Program Chair selects Program committee
  • Programming for regional/thematic conferences decided by local hosts and attendees
Logistical Support
  • Similar to current form. WMF can handle more logistics if local team would like to focus on content instead.
  • WMF can offer significantly more logistical & event-planning support for regional/thematic conferences
Which option(s) are you most interested in pursuing, and why?
  • A hybrid approach as laid out below. StuartPrior (talk) 18:22, 15 December 2015 (UTC)
  • As someone who greatly appreciated the thematic Wikimedia Conference 2015 (focused on affiliates) and WikiConference USA 2015 (national focus), but who has also heard good things about Wikimania, I prefer option 3. --Pine 07:12, 16 December 2015 (UTC)
  • Option 1 (with hybrid approach per StuartPrior) — NickK (talk) 15:23, 17 December 2015 (UTC)
  • I find none of these options attractive or natural. The status quo is not listed as an option here for comparison. All of these options have merits and drawbacks and these options could be remixed in lots of ways. I have lots of nice things to say about all three of these options, and all of them are almost great ideas, but I am unwilling to state support for any of them. Overall, I support an annual Wikimania (with Wikimania being the international catch-all) and multiple specialized conferences every year. Blue Rasberry (talk) 22:42, 12 January 2016 (UTC)
  • I support "Option 1: Change to Global Rotation" as it gives focus to more areas around the world, the kind of global focus we should be aiming to evolve. --Muzammil (talk) 18:20, 13 January 2016 (UTC)
  • I agree with User:Bluerasberry current system should have been one of the options. I support current system as well as option #1 and #3. --Jarekt (talk) 14:46, 15 January 2016 (UTC)
  • I am most interested in Option 3, the alternating international/regional option. My second preference is for Option 1, the Global Rotation which would allow for a greater sense of fairness in how Wikimania locations are awarded to regions. At the moment there is a bit of a lingering discontentment by some editors from parts of the world that feel they are not given a fair chance for their region to host a Wikimania. So even if the alternating option 3 is selected I would strongly advise for the region of the competing bids to be weighted into the decision making process of where in the world a Wikimaia bid would be awarded to. Thereby ensuring that there is a greater sense of fairness by mitigating concern that one region or another might be getting unfair preference/dominance in terms of where Wikimania is hosted.--Discott (talk) 12:15, 17 January 2016 (UTC)
  • I would like to combine some of the approaches : we could have a system where continental or regional wikimania would be organsied on an annual basis and every 3 or 4 years we could have a global single "jamboree" which rotates from one region/continent to another, organsationally I would think that a team of professionals would do the organsiation (experience) and hires local volunteers as staff to help out --DerekvG (talk) 12:47, 17 January 2016 (UTC)
  • Option 1, definitively. --ProtoplasmaKid (WM-MX) (talk) 08:04, 18 January 2016 (UTC)
  • Option 3. Hold Wikimania every two years with rotational schedule. Regional/thematic conferences might not be feasible for all communities but must be encouraged and supported.26Isabella (talk) 16:12, 18 January 2016 (UTC)


What improvements would you make to these options? What's missing? What other options could be considered?
  • All 3 options are feasible, but stopping Wikimania entirely seems like we would lose something in terms of continuity and a way of marking every Wikimedia year.
So, there seems to be a compromise between Option 1 & 3. In that an annual Wikimania is held and organised as per Option 1, reduced but that regional events are also supported via a Grants Process.
One of the problems with the bid system is that it commits WMF to an event with no guarantee of a quality; and in committing to supporting regional events in lieu of a guaranteed Wikimania for certain regions that obligation is exchanged for another type of obligation: a promise to "grant funds to regional events".
The compromise between no focus on smaller regional events, and a sole focus on them, is that although there will be a pot for regional events, as with any grant application (and in contrast to the bid system), there doesn't *have* to be a regional conference if grant applications aren't successful. This is unlikely, but should still be a principle adhered to in the case of a succession of grant applications that don't meet (what should be) a high standard.
The other issue is that with a WMF & Steering Committee approach where venues are rotated between regions, would be defining and refining *what regions are*. So as to ensure a fair geographical spread.
Scholarship process is robust and improving, the only issue with the creation of more events would be how movement funds were allocated to these scholarship programs and between them.
So to summarise.
Annual Wikimania: Venue chosen by WMF and Steering Committee, based on criteria such as
  • Strength of local community
  • Conference venue feasibility
  • Quality/dedication of local team and chapters
And:
  • Planned ~2 years in advance to help secure venue, funding and sponsorship, local participation and to ensure geographical spread.
  • Program Chair selected by Steering Committee.
  • Program Committee should aim to include key people from previous conferences to encourage continuity an connections, and/or agree to liaise with and involve teams from regional events.
  • Centralised WMF support guaranteed to ensure certain standards of delivery are maintained across events (WIFI, safe space policies, travel, any payment processing)
One particular issue is "What are the regions we are rotating through?", continents could be considered too broad, and do we work harder to cover less active regions or support more organically growing areas such as Central/Eastern Europe?
+
Regional Event Grants: Financial and in-kind support available for other events.
  • No mandate to support multiple regional events if not enough meet certain standards, so to avoid the "picking the tallest dwarf" issue that the bid system can result in. High standards will reduced the risk of commitment to projects that need to be "bailed out", while the rotation of Wikimania will ensure that no one region is left without any events at all for their communities, while ensuring that
  • Grant applications should be strong on continued impact in either a thematic or regional community
  • Centralised WMF support available to ensure certain standards of delivery are maintained across events (WIFI, safe space policies, travel, any payment processing)
StuartPrior (talk) 18:22, 15 December 2015 (UTC)
I would like to endorse Stuart's suggestion (although I did not read Option 1 as a sole focus on Wikimania which would mean less/no ressources for regional events). Regional events help to include the parts of our communities which prefer to exchange in their native languages. For a movement like ours it is very important to foster the global and local identities likewise. --CDG (WMAT staff) (talk) 12:50, 16 December 2015 (UTC)
I also endorse Stuart's proposal, as Wikimania and local events are complementary and not mutually exclusive:
  • Wikimania is a unique event where one can both present their achievements or projects to the entire Wikimedia community and learn new ideas or successful initiatives of WMF/affiliates/groups. In addition, it has a unique value of putting our very diverse community together, with people of different countries (from Global North editors of English Wikipedia to Global South editors of small local wikis), different backgrounds (from tech experts to education and GLAM specialists), different experience and interests etc. There is no way to achieve this in any other way... well, technically we can try a vide connection via 1000-person 3-day Google video hangout, but I assume no one will pay even a penny to participate in it.
  • Regional and thematic events are very valuable complements of Wikimania for a) problems that concern only a part of our community (be it technical development of Wikisource or cooperation with GLAMs in Arab world), b) people who do not speak English well enough to participate in Wikimania. The only condition is that these events should be carefully planned, and Wikimania is usually a good place to kick-off such planning — NickK (talk) 15:23, 17 December 2015 (UTC)
  • I would like one annual international Wikimania conference for everyone and additionally, annual regional and subject matter conferences. I live in the United States. The interest in the 2014 and 2015 conferences were a different demographic than the Wikimania conference, and also, the US regional conference had a different focus. Evidence suggests that the demand exists to have more gatherings than are currently offered. There is a shortage of conferences and meetings, and there is a shortage of volunteer event coordinators, but there is no shortage of demand for more. More specialized meetings are more likely to have greater impact among the people who attend, and are likely to attract more specialized attendees. Blue Rasberry (talk) 22:35, 12 January 2016 (UTC)
  • Regarding "what's missing": I was surprised that there wasn't an option to stop holding Wikimania, or to significantly slim it down. I don't personally support ending Wikimania entirely (though I know some do), but I think slimming it down would be worth considering. We don't need fancy venues, big-name speakers, gourmet dinners, musical entertainment... we need a place to listen, talk, and hack, we need some amount of travel and lodging assistance, and we need simple meals. GorillaWarfare (talk) 07:27, 14 January 2016 (UTC)
    • @GorillaWarfare: The "stop holding Wikimania" is more or less like option 2, though the idea there would be to focus more attention on the WMF supporting regional events and organizers. If that were the case, decisions around how much to dress up the conference would be up to the local organizers. But in any case, thanks for the thoughts here on slimming things down. I JethroBT (WMF) (talk) 20:37, 19 January 2016 (UTC)
  • ...I dont believe selection of sites for Wikimania should depend on the "strength of the local community" if that means having a chapter... If that is determined by having a large or growing number of editors from the area, then Im OK with it. Many editors have no idea that there are other ways to get involved. I, personally, was an editor for 2.5 years before I just happened to find out what a chapter was. Another year went by before I knew what a Wikimania was. A Wikimania in "unorganized" areas may bring in more people in more ways. In addition, if we are going to have events such as "education preconferences" which are set primarily or solely for the promotion of Wikipedia in education (as opposed to having delegates from various programs have any real say what happens in San Francisco), then it makes more sense to have Wikimanias in locations which have Wikipedians, but not organized affiliates.Thelmadatter (talk) 18:24, 14 January 2016 (UTC)
  • I believe that other than changes in Wikimania format, there should be also a sound and comprehensive criteria for supporting volunteers. Only people who are fairly active on one or more Wiki project as well as outreach activities during a particular year need to be considered for fresh scholarship. --Muzammil (talk) 18:20, 13 January 2016 (UTC)
  • Highlight on the transparency from pre-wikimania (how certain location is finally selected) and post-wikimania (thorough reporting), and during wikimania (the center stage should be for Wikimedia project and contributors, not paid staff of WMF or affiliates representative because there's WMCON for that). no surprises, no changing formats midway through. 26Isabella (talk) 16:12, 18 January 2016 (UTC)
  • +1 to Stuart's proposal. --ProtoplasmaKid (WM-MX) (talk) 20:22, 18 January 2016 (UTC)
  • ...

the advantage of a different sort of "rotation"Edit

The problem of either a region or a continent approach is that however you divide the map there will be places on either side of a region border and we really don't want to split the world into arbitrary zones. Better to force rotation by a distance rule. I propose that each Wikimania has to be at least an 8 hour flight from the last one, a 5 hour flight from the one before and a two hour flight from the one before that. Instant regionalisation without having to set region boundaries, or having a wikimania in Japan rule out the possibility of the next year having the next Wikimania at the other end of Asia in Jordan. Another or additional criteria we might use is over visas. Generally the wealthier countries are tougher on visas but are cheaper to fly to as they are more likely to be airline hubs. We could aim for alternation between open and closed countries as regards visas from poor countries, or at least promise those Wikimedians from countries that have difficulty getting visa "each Wikimania venue has to be possible in visa terms from any country that couldn't have got a visa to both the previous wikimanias". So no one ever goes three years in a row without Wikimania being in a country where they could get a visa. WereSpielChequers (talk) 22:05, 15 December 2015 (UTC)

  • I would second WereSpielChequers as I have suggested something similar at Talk:Wikimania selection process. To summarise, we should have a different sort of "rotation" where each location of Wikimania should not be "close" to the previous one, where the notion of "close" locations should be not just geographic but also cultural. We definitely should not put it on a regional basis, as we already had great examples of venues that could unite a few regions: in 2015 Mexico City was close both to US and Canada (geographic proximity) and to Latin America (cultural and geographic proximity), in 2010 Gdansk was close to both Western Europe and CEE (both geographically and culturally), and both had friendly visa policies. On the other hand, Haifa in 2011 was technically geographically close to Gulf countries but cultural barriers reduced participation from this area. Thus please look into interesting locations that go beyond simple list of continents — NickK (talk) 14:58, 17 December 2015 (UTC)
  • I agree that a nuanced approach to what a region *is* is important, and to avoid the slightly clumsy continental approach. But any hard and fast rule such as distance might come a cropper when they need to be balanced with other factors. The principle of regular rotation must be enforced, but a precise formula for it (while definitely worth discussing) might not be the best approach given that many other factors need to be taken into account. StuartPrior (talk) 18:54, 17 December 2015 (UTC)
  • The advantage of rotation by minimum distance is that you retain that flexibility. You also preserve options for unsuccessful bidders. Under the continental rotation system if you lose a bid it can be years before you can apply again, with a distance based system if Manila and Perth lose to Montreal they can both bid again the next year. This is an important difference, asking an unsuccessful team to learn from the feedback and work up a bid for an extra year is much more respectful of people's time than to reject a team and hope they can reconstitute in three years. WereSpielChequers (talk) 18:05, 18 December 2015 (UTC)
    Just a notice: we should not have people who lose a bid. This is the worst thing about current system: people who lose a bid spend a lot of efforts but do not get anything. As far as I understand the proposal, committee will be free to suggest venue themselves, thus the very notion of bidding again next year is rather meaningless. What we can do is to avoid the commitment of holding Wikimania "once in 3 years in US or Canada" and suggest instead that at least every third Wikimania should be close to US or Canada. The difference between these two notions in Mexico City which is not in US or Canada but very easy to reach for Wikimedians from US and Canada — NickK (talk) 00:38, 19 December 2015 (UTC)
  • Yes if we simply move to the foundation picking Wikimania venues then local teams no longer bid. But that move has drawbacks and isn't the only option we should consider. If we retain any role for local teams in the bidding then loose rotation has a big advantage over strict rotation. London is not the only bid to succeed on the second attempt, and that is much easier done if you can bid two years in a row. If London had lost to Toulouse then there would have been little point bidding the following year, but losing to HongKong meant that London had a much better chance the following year. WereSpielChequers (talk) 08:20, 23 December 2015 (UTC)
    Looks like WMF offers us a choice between Wikimania without bidding and no Wikimania at all. I have wrote my thoughts about bidding below — NickK (talk) 16:40, 23 December 2015 (UTC)

If we do away with "local teams"Edit

If we want Wikimania to be cost effective, and to be open to people from many countries, then why bother about the strength of the local team? A professional conference organiser could work with airlines and conference venues to come up with a program of cost effective globally diverse wikimanias. The most cost effective venue may not be the ones with local teams, and if airlines and conference venues are bidding for the business we are likely to get better prices than if teams of wikimedians are bidding based on the strength of the volunteer team. Once the volunteer team knows the dates, room sizes and locations then the program can be put together by volunteers - but the program organisers and so forth don't need to be in the country. There are some things where local input is useful, but almost anywhere there is bound to be some opportunity for outreach and recruitment of local volunteers once we plan the event. WereSpielChequers (talk) 22:05, 15 December 2015 (UTC)

I think if we delve into how the Mexico City event finally came about, WSC comments make even more sense.Thelmadatter (talk) 18:26, 14 January 2016 (UTC)
This approach unfortunately does not work with language and cultural barriers. Recruiting volunteers, making local promotion of Wikimania or even organising evening programme does require either a local team or very expensive international event managers — NickK (talk) 00:50, 19 December 2015 (UTC)
Not all volunteers need to be local, it is quite possible to hold a conference with the stewards being volunteers from elsewhere, especially if they are conference regulars and just need a few hours orientation re the venue. Local promotion isn't really needed unless we try to turn Wikimania into some sort of very expensive outreach event. For the evening program it would help if we had local volunteers, but we have people in most places in the world, I suspect if we chose a particular city almost anywhere in the world and put out a call for local wikimedians we would find some. Plenty of wikimanias have recruited many if not most of their volunteers after winning the bid. WereSpielChequers (talk) 08:28, 23 December 2015 (UTC)
Of course many volunteers cannot be local. But from my experience in Mexico City (cannot compare with London as I knew the city well enough myself) it was very important to have at least volunteers who knew the city well. There were many situations when it was really needed, from knowing nice and affordable places to eat or buy some local food to finding way to Museo Soumaya when bus did not arrive due to traffic jams (oh wait, bus and museum were also arranged by locals), or simply for translating something from/into Spanish. It can be done by a much smaller (like 5 people) local team if there is an online team (e.g. from Iberocoop in case of Mexico City or from WikiFranca in case of Montréal) and a strong WMF logistics support, but it is hard to do it in a city without active local community, even if a city have a nice hotel and venue — NickK (talk) 13:56, 23 December 2015 (UTC)
Do you mean without a local community or without local volunteers? I would agree that local volunteers are very useful, but I'm not convinced they need to be organised as a community before the event, and I'm pretty sure that if we limit this to venues near major airports we will always find local volunteers. WereSpielChequers (talk) 07:02, 14 January 2016 (UTC)
An interesting question. We either need an organised local community or at least a few local organisers who will find and organise local volunteers. In theory this can even work with one extremely engaged local Wikipedian who will be able to find and coordinate volunteers him/herself. At the same time, I know at least one fairly large country with major airports but without local volunteers: Cyprus. We tried to find any local volunteers for Wikimedia Central and Eastern Europe and failed to find any — NickK (talk) 22:33, 14 January 2016 (UTC)

Take a leaf from Ted re the talksEdit

We are a community heavily skewed towards geeks who communicate better with their PC than with an audience, especially if that audience may not be in their native tongue. Few wikimania presentations are as compelling as a TED talk. Having a small team of presentation coaches before and during wikimania could transform the quality of wikimania talks, and make them a much better legacy for the future. You could even have a pre conference day for the speakers to have help with their presentations WereSpielChequers (talk) 22:23, 15 December 2015 (UTC)

+1 to this! The quality of sessions at Wikimania could be improved: we should have more interactive sessions, more workshops, and fewer (better) presentations. Giving good presentations is a real skill - as is facilitating a conversation among a group. Consciously developing these skills would be a good move. At the Wikimedia Conference there are professional facilitators who assist session hosts with planning and delivery of their sessions to make sure things stay interactive and interesting. Could that idea scale to Wikimania? Chris Keating (The Land) (talk) 14:07, 16 December 2015 (UTC)
I support the idea of fewer presentations and more workshops and other forms of interactive sessions. Presentations can be helpful, but I think the greatest outcomes from Wikimania and other Wikimedia events is networking, brainstorming, hacking and actively tackling specific projects, etc. -Another Believer (talk) 00:55, 17 December 2015 (UTC)
There's typically an open call for sessions; the problem is that people choose to submit talks, rather than interactive sessions. This makes sense - people submit if they have something they want to say. The programme committee could carve out time for interactive sessions, but arguably this makes the process less open and more centralised (although programme committee membership itself is open). As for presentation coaches, that's possible but timing would be difficult. Most people just fly in the for conference itself, and all spaces are generally turned over to sessions. At Wikimania 2014 we had a "presentation tips" session, but not many of those presenting went. Personally I think presentation skills cannot be taught in a day, and this would be too little too late. If you want to invest in making talks a better legacy for the future, it would be most effective to put resources into better recording, editing and timely uploading. EdSaperia (talk) 19:06, 23 December 2015 (UTC)
Surely it would be better to resource improving the quality of sessions, than to resource recording and uploading poor sessions? Chris Keating (The Land) (talk) 11:57, 24 December 2015 (UTC)
I love the idea of setting aside a few slots (day prior to Wikimania) for training and rehearsal. Benefits for Wikimania for sure but also for all presentations the speaker might have to do afterwards in other places. Anthere (talk) 20:36, 4 January 2016 (UTC)
Most attendees aren't there until the day of the conference, and I think you'll find these sessions will be very poorly attended. If you can find someone to volunteer to run the sessions, then by all means, but otherwise it's budget better spent elsewhere. EdSaperia (talk) 21:37, 10 January 2016 (UTC)
I agree with the OP suggestion, but given we are a global movement, is there anything wrong with video presentations and old-style online mentoring? There's only so much you can gain from a one-day workshop while heavily jetlagged, and perhaps having a gentler two or three week process where people can participate at their convenience over the technology we all use is a better way. Orderinchaos (talk) 10:46, 11 January 2016 (UTC)
WMBE wanted to teach its volunteers (as part of a volunteer development program) people about presentation skills, unfortunately this was removed from our semestrial grant request, because of a growth ratio(?). Yes train people presentation skills but a one day before the conference is not enough.--DerekvG (talk) 12:34, 17 January 2016 (UTC)

Percentage of WMF presentationsEdit

I've never been to Wikimania, but something that I've heard a number of comments about is that there is a high percentage of sessions that are either led by WMF or are presentations by WMF staff, and that these tend to take time and attention away from community leadership and projects. I would like to suggest that there be a cap of 25% of the available time for sessions and presentations being led by WMF. This will force WMF to prioritize its highest-potential-impact presenters and topics, which may yield better average impact while decreasing the amount of money that needs to be spent on staff travel. The savings in time on the program, and the savings and funds, can be reallocated to community-led sessions and scholarships. --Pine 07:08, 16 December 2015 (UTC)

Whilst I'd agree that the growth in the number of WMF staff has resulted in an increase in the number of presentations that involve WMF staff, I'd say it was a symptom of the increase in staff rather than a problem in its own right. We have a jury based process for prioritising talks, possibly some in the jury are biased towards colleagues, and the WMF talks currently do better in the jury process than volunteer ones do. That could be because the WMF is recruiting wikimedians who communicate well, or it could be because people in the community want to know what the paid staff are up to and expect a lot of them to present as part of their feedback to the wider community. There could also be an element of being pretty sure that the WMF has some system of courses or vetting to protect us and their staff from making poor quality presentations. If we invested in my earlier proposal then perhaps volunteer proposals would do better in the jury process. WereSpielChequers (talk) 08:27, 16 December 2015 (UTC)
The problem to my mind isn't simply that WMF staff take up a lot of airtime - the problem is that we don't have any defined goals (or even topics of conversation) for Wikimania. As a result a lot of sessions are planned on the basis of "here is a thing I can talk about" rather than "here is a conversation that we need to move forward". It so happens the WMF is fairly good at producing Things to present to people but simply giving WMF a quota of airtime won't solve the underlying issue. Regards, Chris Keating (The Land) (talk) 14:03, 16 December 2015 (UTC)

In terms of WMF participation in program, I am not sure that there is actually any evidence of it getting session time at the expense of the community, given that as WMF has expanded, Wikimania has also expanded. Also, I think it's best if we don't treat WMF as a monolith in this case, as there are many teams within it with different things they would like to contribute to or get from a Wikimania.
So WMF expectations of some guaranteed time/space allocations are reasonable, but the prioritisation of *all* WMF participation is not. So the Hackathon for example, I think is generally well supported by the community, organised well in advance and gets a certain level of priority. But not all WMF participation is planned so well.
Having been responsible for allocating session space on Wikimania 2014, I found that WMF stakeholders that plan and respond *early* to calls for sessions/meetings are helpful to the overall organisation of the program and allow more efficient allocation of space (see: more to offer)which helps everyone. WMF stakeholders that come late with expectations that as WMF they should be allocated session time/meeting venues can be disruptive and shouldn't necessarily be accommodated.
However, what I would really like to see, with regard to program, would be a real effort to make all those less formal community meetups happen. StuartPrior (talk) 19:40, 17 December 2015 (UTC)

The submissions are judged individually by the committee's personal criteria; if you think they judge wrongly, by all means volunteer to join the committee yourself. However, it's impossible to deny that the things the WMF are presenting are funded by donor money and may have massive structural impact on the projects. These presentations may be a chance to hold the WMF to account, disseminate critical or little known information available only to foundation staff, or allow for community consultations that may be very significant to the projects both in the short and the long term. I find it hard to argue that presentations like these aren't a valuable use of conference time. EdSaperia (talk) 19:18, 23 December 2015 (UTC)

Ha. This if funny, as a non WMF staff who had slide and plan to be a speaker in Wikimania 20XX (I forget the year, I think it was in Washington DC) about Wikipedia in Indonesia and in other language I got lots of support for talk and attendees but then didn't got scholarship to attend. Whilst it is different if you are WMF staff speaking. So how do you put the two and two together? F**king unfair if you asks me. After that, never interested to participate anymore. Didn't even know how to be a speaker in chapter meeting now to be honest, too complex, but at least the last part it is easier to attend Siska.Doviana (talk) 16:41, 13 January 2016 (UTC)
There should be no staff presentations period... IMHO. Staff exist to support the movement, not be the bosses of volunteers.Thelmadatter (talk) 18:27, 14 January 2016 (UTC)
@Siska.Doviana: Siska, regarding the Chapters Meeting (called Wikimedia Conference): It's not comple, it's simple, just write a mail. Please don't mix or generalize most different conferences, it differs. Thank you, --Cornelius Kibelka (WMDE) (talk) 20:53, 19 January 2016 (UTC)

It's easy to attend, but not as a speaker. Mostly speakers comes from western countries or CEE. At least in 2015. Asian, just watch, learn from the others. Frustrating. It's not generalize it's input. Write to who? Siska.Doviana (talk) 08:19, 21 January 2016 (UTC)

  • I have been to 2 Wikimanias and have seen many presentations by WMF staff and many presentations by others. I have never seen an awful, total waste of every-bodies time presentation by WMF staff but I have seen 2 by volunteers. Also most of the best presentations I have seem were by regular volunteers. I feel like since WMF staff is paid by the movement, I would like to know what are they up to. Also since we do end up interacting with many of them on Wikiprojects it is nice to meet them in person and I found most of them to be very knowledgeable, courteous and helpful. That said I do want to see other presenters as well. I am fine with putting soft quotas on number of WMF staff presentations or just keep it in mind as one of factors to track during presentation approval, but I do not see this as an issue. --Jarekt (talk) 14:41, 15 January 2016 (UTC)
  • I support a WMF presentation cap on the percentage of time they consume at conferences. WMF staff are paid contributors and it is problematic to put Wikimedia community volunteers in competition with paid media teams at Wikimania. I wrote about this in The Signpost at "Wikimania—can volunteers organize conferences?" in the section "Paid vs. volunteer presentations", where I presented my count that in the 2015 Wikimania only 14% of talks were presented by individuals or teams who were not paid to give them. Pine says restrict WMF staff to 25% of talks, but I would prefer instead to promise 51% of the conference to unpaid volunteers, because WMF staff are not the only paid influence in the movement. Jarekt is right - often volunteers cannot give quality presentations in the way that someone paid to give them and paid to work on Wikipedia is, but then also, Wikipedia is a mostly volunteer movement and Wikimania should reflect the body of contributors, and not present the Wikimedia movement as something that it is not. If WMF staff want use staff resources to be involved, then they could invest in developing volunteers to engage in Wikipedia more deeply and to present a better face for the movement. I agree with Thelmadatter's sentiment. Sometimes WMF staff treat the volunteers as an owned resource to be used and expended, and it is a horrible feeling to have anyone pull rank of employment to take control the outcome of what ought to be discussions among peers. I agree with EdSaperia that Wikimania Foundation presentations are valuable, but the WMF has other options for outreach while Wikimania is an especially valuable communication channel for people otherwise without money. Something the Wikimedia Foundation ought to do, but does not, is make videos presenting their work. They are in SF, videos are relatively cheap for tech organizations there, everyone else does it, but the WMF is extremely communication shy. The kinds of things that WMF staff have said at Wikimanias in the past would be better said on recorded video made by video professionals. It would not be easy for volunteers to do that, and volunteers need to speak at the conference (and to have their talks recorded there). For WMF staff, there are other options than using community timeslots at the conference. If WMF staff have to present a topic at a conference, grooming volunteer groups to present the idea on their behalf would be a mutually empowering compromise. Blue Rasberry (talk) 14:56, 15 January 2016 (UTC)
Generally +1 to this - there are many more options for WMF (and indeed other organisations') staff to engage with the community, and I get the feeling that at the moment "present at Wikimania" is a bit of an easy one. Chris Keating (The Land) (talk) 09:41, 16 January 2016 (UTC)

As others have remarked here already, in London for instance it was almost impossible to give a presentation about Wikimedia content from a contributor's perspective. Some members of the jury didn't even cast a single vote and the ones who did favo(u)red WMF talks. But then again I think it is too early to decide about WM2018 now. In Esino Lario they are trying out a very differnt approach to presentations. Let's wait whether the new approach improved content and the overall happyness about the programme. --Gereon K. (talk) 21:31, 18 January 2016 (UTC)

Make it about Wikipedia againEdit

Over the past couple of years, Wikimania has been increasingly focused on meta-level issues. So, if you were interested in topics around chapters, committees, governance, WMF stuff etc., Wikimania was a good place for you. People who were interested in content creation and curation had to take the back seat. I'd personally like to see a Wikimania that puts content back into the role it deserves (didn't we all join Wikipedia in the first place because we were into writing articles, uploading photos, etc.?) To be clear: I'm not advocating for excluding meta-related topics. I'm just suggesting that those parts of our community who are mainly involved in content creation and curation might welcome an international conference that feels more inviting to them. --Frank Schulenburg (talk) 18:25, 16 December 2015 (UTC)

++++1. Ofcourse for all content providers of all projects. For people who writing articles and wordbook entries, taking pictures, collecting data, teaching about wikimedia projects, working with GLAMs and also bringing the software to a better level. Wikimania for contributors and users, not at first for the staff. It's impossible, but happened often the last years, that the first time staff members of the WMF talked about there themes at the Wikimania, not in their bureau. Wikimania is ours! Marcus Cyron (talk) 18:43, 16 December 2015 (UTC)
I strongly agree with this. Cheers, —DerHexer (Talk) 19:42, 16 December 2015 (UTC)
Sorry for writing german, my english is too bad.
Von Jahr zu Jahr wurden die Wikimanias immer mehr zu Veranstaltungen der WMF und immer weniger zu Treffen der Communitys. Die Themen auf den Vorträgen tendieren immer mehr zu Fragen der Verwaltung, immer weniger zu Interessen der freiwilligen Benutzer der verschiedenen Projekte. Die Wikimanias werden immer mehr den Freiwilligen weggenommen, wir sind nur noch Besucher einer fremden Veranstaltung. Vielleicht sollten die Freiwilligen mal wieder eine eigene Wikimania organisieren? Würde das von der WMF unterstützt werden, wären dafür auch Gelder verfügbar? --Ralf Roletschek (talk) 20:11, 16 December 2015 (UTC)
(Translation of Ralf's contribution above by --Frank Schulenburg (talk) 20:59, 16 December 2015 (UTC)) Each year, Wikimania became more of a WMF event and less of a community gathering. The presentation topics lean increasingly towards administrative issues and less towards what interests contributors of the different projects. The Wikimanias have been taken away from the volunteers; we're only participants of someone else's event. Maybe the volunteers should get back to organizing their own Wikimania? Would that be something that WMF supported? Would WMF provide funds for this as well?
I don't think we need this in that way. Because the bureaucrats have their own conference. Every year in Berlin. They don't need a second one. Or if, then please not our, our Wikimania. Marcus Cyron (talk) 04:34, 24 December 2015 (UTC)
+1. Sounds like a reasonable and smart idea. The chapter, affiliate have their own event. Their participation isn't really relevant or important to what Wikimania should be - about content creators and promoting the editorial and content side of the project. Theo10011 (talk) 21:03, 16 December 2015 (UTC)
I can only partially agree. Wikimania is not just about Wikipedia, it is about the entire Wikimedia movement. The main idea should be to include talks that would be useful for a signficant part of Wikimedia contributors and not just for a small group. One of my best memories from Wikimania 2015 was a talk by Julia Reda that was not really about Wikipedia but was very relevant to Wikimedia movement. We should keep such talks as they make our movement richer, but they should not be a majority — NickK (talk) 15:34, 17 December 2015 (UTC)
This would logically beg the question then, which event is about Wikipedia? or content creation in particular. Chapters/affiliates have their own annual conference in Germany or Europe. Not to mention their own collaborative meetings, projects, events, round the year. The board and affiliates have their own interactive events. What about content creators? It would be natural that the biggest annual event we have take in to account the biggest part of our community that only gets just one event, no? Theo10011 (talk) 16:55, 17 December 2015 (UTC)
Theo10011, I'd argue that with increased opportunities for regional events, they might naturally be more focused on content creation and serve that need (though I'd like to add that Commons, WikiSource, Wikidata and many other projects need this opportunity as much as WP). Wikimania's global nature naturally draws it away from content (which is often quite local) and on to areas the wider community can converse on (meta issues). StuartPrior (talk) 19:48, 17 December 2015 (UTC)
Your argument above is based on a biased supposition, or perhaps your own perspective. There is no evidence that regional events will be more focused on content creation. I offer meta as an example, the chances of finding 10 active metapedians in the same country or even continent on any given day, is a rare one. We are all over the globe and we have different first languages, chance of us meeting in a regional event is between nil and minimal. Then there is the argument there are and have been local meetups through english wikipedia for years now, even in my own city, that have made zero to minimal impact on content creation. Getting a vested, experienced, knowledgeable global audience together in a single place has its benefits, that can't be supplanted by a small minority meeting for coffee locally. Maybe both have their place, but the difference is, we only have one global event - wikimania, no one talks of cutting down on regional events or local meetups. That leaves just one endangered species. Theo10011 (talk) 20:02, 17 December 2015 (UTC)
@Theo10011: First of all, why do we focus just on Wikipedia? It is not the only Wikimedia project, and contributors of Wikimedia Commons, Wikidata, Wiktionary etc. should be as welcome at Wikimania as Wikipedia contributors. Secondly, I do not think that presentation about freedom of panorama was irrelevant: freedom of panorama is an issue that concerns quite a lot of content creators of Wikimedia Commons (as well as of those projects that have no freedom of panorama), so are some other topics (Marcus Cyron made a good selection above). Thirdly, some WMF topics should be there, in particular Board Q&A that is a good reminder that WMF Board should serve the interests of the community. What I agree is that people interested in content creation and curation should NOT have to take the back seat, but instead we have to present topics in the way that would be interesting for them (us) and will make them (us) feel welcome — NickK (talk) 22:28, 19 December 2015 (UTC)
I never said just Wikipedia. When I said content creator I meant, content creators irrespective of the project. I think even Frank was explicit he meant photo walks and other projects in his original post above to which I agreed with. I absolutely believe other projects from Wikisource to commons all need attention, it should not just be about Wikipedia. I assume we meant content creators should get priority or better representation over some other governance issues. I don't know much about Freedom of panorama issue so I can't comment on it. I also agree with minimal WMF led events, especially a Board Q&A is a good idea and should happen, just that it should happen between content creators that should get more representation from the wider community than the same chapter people year after year. I think we generally agree on most of your points. Regards. Theo10011 (talk) 08:13, 20 December 2015 (UTC)
I agree with Frank. Wikimania should be more focused (again) on the content of the projects. Wikipedia, Wikimedia Commons, Wikisource, Wikidata, etc. International interexchange between the authors, photograpers, GLAM people etc. Raymond (talk) 08:59, 18 December 2015 (UTC)
I agree with the intention here - particularly as the Wikimedia Conference is getting increasingly effective at covering the "affiliate/WMF" issues, and also it is more reliably accessible to affiliates than Wikimania (as WMCon has reserved scholarships for almost all affiliates while Wikimania does not). However I do wonder how much difference it would make. In the Wikimania 2015 programme, I can only see about 4 or 5 sessions in the conference proper (out of many dozen) that mainly to do with chapters, committees, governance, evaluation, funding and so on. This sets aside the "pre-conference" (which I would argue should be treated separately, as by definition a pre-conference doesn't take up space in the conference) and it doesn't include the GLAM and Education tracks which are things affiliates are heavily involved in but are fundamentally content matters. So - would adopting this principle actually be a significant change? Chris Keating (The Land) (talk) 17:03, 18 December 2015 (UTC)
I just quickly glanced at the Wikimania 2015 program and I would qualify a large number of sessions as dealing with meta-level issues. I think we might just have a different definition of what "meta stuff" is and I guess that's nothing we can quickly resolve here. However, it might be worth noting that I know of many Wikipedians over the last couple of years that they shared my view. That's why I thought it might be worth giving those people a voice here (most of them don't engage in meta-level discussions like this one). Best, --Frank Schulenburg (talk) 18:06, 18 December 2015 (UTC) 
So how do you define it,out of interest? Chris Keating (The Land) (talk) 21:11, 18 December 2015 (UTC)
There wa a statistic published after Mexico, sadly I did not found her now. If I remember correct, there were more than 2/3 of all talks and so on provided by staff or other official/half official people. This is clearly not Community. And when I remeber Leilas opening talk, I only remember a woman not coming from the movement, who way trying to tell us, how Wikip/media works. Us. We are Wikim/pedia! We don't need the staff to tell us what we do or what to do. We need and want contact with the staff. But we want to tell them what we want and need. And we are not the beggers. We are the people who give. In the last years it was like it swapped to the difference. Marcus Cyron (talk) 04:40, 24 December 2015 (UTC)

It's open submission, and an open programme committee. The content reflects the biases and interests of the committee. If you'd like a more content focused conference, join the committee and vote! Personally, I think it's entirely natural and predictable for any large collection of community members to want to mostly discuss meta-issues, because they will have the broadest appeal. EdSaperia (talk) 19:22, 23 December 2015 (UTC)

Senseless as long the WMF blocked sessions for themself. Marcus Cyron (talk) 04:41, 24 December 2015 (UTC)
Minor. In Wikimania 2014, only a handful of sessions out of ~200 were blocked for WMF speakers outside of the committee process, and they were for Jimmy, Lila etc. EdSaperia (talk) 21:40, 10 January 2016 (UTC)

I totally, totally, totally agree with the direction Frank proposes. I do not want to argue that Wikimania should be a Wikipedia, a content curation/production or community internal matters only event, but it's the proportions between content, technology, politics etc. which matter. And these tell a lot and they have told quite a lot in recent years. If at least most community slots had been community related! But, well, what is "community" apart from a buzzword? → «« Man77 »» [de] 22:32, 24 December 2015 (UTC)

Entirely agreed with Frank's suggestion. A lot of people who attend Wikimania are neither chapter nor affiliate people, and are there to exchange ideas and stories and be motivated. Shop talk does not motivate people - the projects do. That's why they're all part of our movement, because they saw a project they wanted to contribute to and did so and became part of the Wikimedia extended family. Orderinchaos (talk) 10:42, 11 January 2016 (UTC)

I agree that the focus should be more about creating and managing content. When I gave a talk in London two years ago, I was surprised by the lack of workshops or practical stuff (and the rooms for the workshops were so small that many people could not get in...). I was also surprised that very little was done to promote Wikimedia contents toward the general public. Hope it helps. Lionel Allorge (talk) 10:03, 13 January 2016 (UTC)
  • No Wikimania was about Wikipedia when 100 million dollars was not flying around every year. Wikimania used to be an event which was celebrated without 100 million dollars going somewhere, and in only a few years the number jumped from 0 to an unimaginable sum and the community has no idea where the money is going, how to learn about where it is going, who is getting it, or how decisions are being made. It seems like the people who collect the money do it with an advertising campaign that suggests the money being solicited is for the benefit of the community, and yet the community has no comprehension of what benefits there are. It seems like hardly anything has changed even after income has doubled, tripled, or quadrupled. There is continual community fear of a money grab - whatever that means - and I think it would be foolish for the community to proceed without making transparency demands. Transparency is more than releasing financial statements; transparency has to mean community understanding, and it is impossible to believe that any significant number of community members from the "Wikimania for Wikipedia" days have any understanding of what it means to have a steady 100 million annual cash flow. When the right amount of that money is used to support the community's interest in Wikipedia, then Wikimania can be about Wikipedia again. I do not believe that we live in a world of limitless greed, and that community groups would make unending demands for resources. Instead, I think that chapters and other community organizations correctly recognize that they operate in poverty, at great personal risk to members, and in a compromising way that increases their chance of failure, and that the major problem in the relationship is an avoidance of the discussion of what percentage of money from fundraisers should be controlled by people other than staff or contractors of the WMF. It makes no sense to me to criticize community bureaucracy without immediately recognizing that poverty, ignorance of accounting, and a perception of unfairness in distribution of funds is at the heart of the problem. Whenever there is money involved, the primary concern of the stakeholders is in the money they perceive as theirs. If Wikimania does not have governmental bureaucracy then who will speak for those who are harmed by this massive wild machine? Blue Rasberry (talk) 15:26, 15 January 2016 (UTC)

FeedbackEdit

  1. Why is this under grants? As a metapedian, I have to ask why is this a grants issue? Is there a grant or an idealab project associated here? I ask, because this page will eventually be lost and archived and all the wikimania stuff is in other places, not in grants namespace. It is not a consistent way of organising things here.
  2. Instead of having a straight-forward comments page or an RfC, which would be the wiki-way, the page starts out with Issue 1 and 2 along with Proposed value statements, it seems patronising and odd to propose those values and ask if they are consistent - it's no surprise that section has had zero comments as of writing this - it seems odd, kind of like what the reading team tried on mediawiki, they got little to no participation and made little sense in the first attempt. Please be more direct and concise, ask for general feedback and comments in an RfC, then sift through the feedback. This process limits participation and the amount of feedback you are likely to get.
  3. Why is this exercise going in to the existential nature of wikimania? Re-evaluating what it means, what it should be and going far far larger than where this process needs to go. We all know what Wikimania is, why it's important. We obviously want it around. The issues we had were procedural, about how the winners were chosen and how a steering committee was found to be taking liberties without informing or involving anybody. A lot was happening in private that should have been kept open - that was the main issue. Any attempt made at fixing the problem should address the problem itself - lay out clear simple procedures, check the authority of this steering committee and keep things open and simple whenever possible.
  4. I would mention James here, as his ubiquitous involvement year after year in all aspects of Wikimania from this newly formed committee to jury member to organising team to jury selector and official contact - Wikimania, the event or what it represents can not rest on the shoulder of one individual, they can't make sweeping changes to it and feel they "own" it. It really doesn't help the situation if that same person is a member of WMF staff. It gives off an unseemly impression.

That's about it. Regards. Theo10011 (talk) 20:56, 16 December 2015 (UTC)

Just to respond to point 3: I disagree. Actually, I don't think we have a clear idea of what Wikimania is for. If we did then the thread immediately above this one wouldn't exist. I don't think we can resolve the procedural issues without identifying the purpose. :) Chris Keating (The Land) (talk) 10:16, 17 December 2015 (UTC)
Can we agree Wikimania is an annual conference that we've had for the past several years? And that it is one of the largest events we have every year? I don't think those parts are up for debate or ever have been. It's the people who want to change things that have different ideas. Whether those new ideas are successful or not, remains to be seen, until then I hope the past and the facts associated with it aren't up for debate. Regards. Theo10011 (talk) 16:59, 17 December 2015 (UTC)
I don't think anyone is debating either of those points, but I want to emphasize the point from The Land that we lack a unifying set of values for Wikimania, which carries broader consequences for many decisions about the conference. I JethroBT (WMF) (talk) 22:27, 17 December 2015 (UTC)
What do you mean by a "unifying set of values"? I don't know if I'm being cynical or pragmatic here but It's an annual conference, an event. What values should a conference have? It can either get larger or smaller or be done away with, but really, this whole idea of representing and holding a set of larger values, goes over my head. Someone would have to be more specific when they talk about these abstract nebulous intangible "values". Theo10011 (talk) 20:29, 19 December 2015 (UTC)
To point 1, the more immediate place here is is IdeaLab, where proposals of any kind can be developed by anyone. This is part of the Grants namespace because it's useful to have a preparatory, drafting, and collaborative space for potential grant proposals, but it is not limited to that purpose. To point 2, I think the RfC route could also have worked well, allowing values to surface on their own. All we've done here is try to pull out some possible themes we've identified from prior community feedback, evaluations, and stories from movement conferences. We'd like to see how these themes sit with you, and give everyone the chance to propose different values, or tweak these ones if they are not quite right. Our goal here is not to claim, "we've figured it all out," but more to say "this is what we've heard," and work with all of you to better capture how movement conferences promote efforts to improve Wikimedia projects. I JethroBT (WMF) (talk) 22:21, 17 December 2015 (UTC)
I don't see any perceived benefits to using the grants namespace, apart from separating it from the majority of Wikimania related topics in mainspace. If I'm not mistaken, this isn't a grant request any preparatory, drafting, collaborative space it offers isn't aligned with its inherent purpose. The main page is irrelevant, as are the Issue 1-2 about "Wikimania's value" - I see little or no participation there, it inadvertently went to people giving their opinion on a talk page - to which I suggested why not an RfC? you probably would have gotten higher participation from the community keeping it simple and familiar. And I say all that as a metapedian and a long time janitor here. The point you are overlooking in your own explanation is, you or the staff members here, identified some possible themes from prior feedback- and now, you are either manufacturing consent or forming some sort of observer's bias because you went into this process with a set of pre-determined ideas and you want to support a narrative - ideally, things like this should percolate on their own time, all you need is an empty meta page. The part about "what we've heard" also doesn't make sense, you might have heard wrong? That entire reasoning sounds like gossip or some comment 2 visitors made drinking coffee at another event - going in to a feedback process with preconceived notions, especially when they aren't well-sourced, isn't helpful. Theo10011 (talk) 20:29, 19 December 2015 (UTC)
How about discussing the future of Wikimania, rather than what page a discussion about the future of Wikimania ought to be on? Chris Keating (The Land) (talk) 21:10, 19 December 2015 (UTC)
How about I get to express my opinion? As I mentioned my concern here is as an admin and curator of these Wikimania pages years after they are forgotten. I mentioned my point for consistency. I don't think anyone is stopping you from discussing the future of Wikimania, and if you notice I'm making my concerns known as well about Wikimania. I merely offered feedback on the process itself and a few choices in addition to my opinion of wikimania. Regards. Theo10011 (talk) 08:22, 20 December 2015 (UTC)

BiddingEdit

It is quite clear that bidding in the current format cannot exist: it puts a very heavy burden on local communities, especially on losers. However, why do we need to eliminate it completely? It would be great to let local communities say that they want to host Wikimania. The idea of one-way link (i.e. WMF selects location for Wikimania) is not quite in the spirit of our community without the other way (i.e. community suggests to WMF potential location(s)). As an example, we would never get a Wikimania in Esino Lario in the proposed system as WMF would never pick this very village: I can't say whether it is a good idea to host it there, but we shouldn't deprive Italian community of the right to suggest it as a Wikimania venue. Just make it simple:

  • local communities can propose venues before a deadline (e.g. 2.5 years before Wikimania) with a minimum information
  • WMF can also propose a venue
  • Committee designs a host and publicly announces it (e.g. at the Wikimania 2 years ahead, for instance, with 2018 hosts announced at Wikimania 2016) — NickK (talk) 16:46, 17 December 2015 (UTC)
Agree, it needs to be tweaked. A total top-down decision on location/team could/would fail because it might be working on poor information as to where the enthusiasm and skills to run a Wikimania might be without asking the community. The fact is, well resourced and organised affiliates are afraid to bid for a Wikimania, as it can (and has) taken valuable resources away from their core activities (and the basis of their funding) with no guarantee that this would be taken into account in their next APG application.

So this leaves less well-resourced and organised communities willing to bid, but they might not be able to guarantee the time and commitment that a Wikimania requires due to other commitments. There should be a middle ground that either incentivises the larger affiliates to support this event locally to them or in their region (think all European chapters working on one event in say, Greece), or some dedicated team-building among less well-resourced communities (think sub-saharan African Wikimedians working together to run an event in South Africa, with support from WMF staff and other volunteers). StuartPrior (talk) 20:19, 17 December 2015 (UTC)

Programme development thoughtsEdit

Currently the programme development process goes like this:

  • The hosts define themes or tracks for the programme (which have often been set out in their bid)
  • Part of the programme is set aside for keynote speakers (Lila, Jimmy, other invited famous or high-profile people from outside the Wikimedia movement)
  • Outside of the keynotes, People submit topics for sessions that they will run (usually, presentations) and which fit into one or more of these tracks
  • The Programme Committee reviews submissions and announces what is accepted
  • Occasionally people (generally, WMF staff) request space for “their” presentations late in the process
  • Session hosts turn up and do their presentation
  • No feedback is gathered on individual sessions and no-one asks what happens as a result of them

I would like to propose an amended model which would require rather more work (and indeed staff support) but would result in a better-defined, higher-quality programme.

  • Rather than “tracks” defined by the hosts we have an early community consultation about what conversations we need to progress. This ought to include input from;
    • The hosts (to include their particular passions and the opportunities implied by the venue)
    • The wider community (to work out what burning issues people want to address)
    • Senior level staff in the WMF (not to give the WMF a bigger voice, but to make sure WMF think collectively about what they want to achieve and don’t have a dozen different teams submitting unconnected presentations)
  • In parallel with an open submission process, the programme committee proactively approaches people with interesting things to say about those conversations (from inside or outside the Wikimedia community)
  • Less of the programme is reserved for keynotes/featured speakers but more space is reserved for meetups, casual meetings, and lightning talks/poster presentations (ensuring more cool ideas can be surfaced and developed during the conference)
  • The Programme Committee doesn’t simply select submissions, but shapes the programme more directly (e.g. creating new sessions, amending/merging similar submissions) so that there is a coherent approach to each of the key conversations involving a wider range of perspectives
  • Presenters are given advice and support about how to make their presentations more engaging and interactive (e.g. having professional facilitators available to help develop sessions)
  • One or more people take responsibility for documenting the progress of each key conversation and identifying next steps.

Regards, Chris Keating (The Land) (talk) 14:08, 19 December 2015 (UTC)

I would endores this but I think that a few things are already there. AFAIK, at least in 2015 Programme Committee already amended or merged some submissions, and it looks like in 2016 programme will have indeed more space for meetings.
Concerning approaching people with interesting things to say, it is a real challenge. Firstly, we can find people who know well activities in a specific project (e.g. dewiki), country or region (e.g. Latin America) or area (e.g. education), but very few, if any, have a really global vision. Secondly, these invitations must go with guaranteed scholarships, otherwise it is just impolite. We tried something like that at Wikimedia CEE Meeting 2014, and it was a huge challenge even for a small region, so we should think whether it is really a good investment of resources at a global level — maybe we should just ask people to share information around them like in previous years — NickK (talk) 22:47, 19 December 2015 (UTC)
Yes - thanks for that - after reading your comment I had a bit of a look at the 2016 programme submission process. It looks like that is going in the right direction, though I think there is scope for more explicit and/or open consultation about programme priorities. Chris Keating (The Land) (talk) 10:43, 23 December 2015 (UTC)

Having programmed Wikimania 2014, I can tell you that the existing process exists largely because it's practical and efficient. There are something like 500 submissions; receiving them, rating them, notifying them of their success or failure, getting confirmation of attendance; this process takes months. If you take ten minutes to evaluate a session submission, and spend three hours a day on it, it takes you a month to get through them all - and remember, in theory every committee member has to do this. After all that, people pull out at the last minute and all manner of other things can happen to upset your intended programming.

    • "The wider community (to work out what burning issues people want to address)" - effectively this already happens, by people submitting sessions.
    • "WMF think collectively about what they want to achieve and don’t have a dozen different teams submitting unconnected presentations)" - Asking The WMF to think collectively about what it wants to achieve, strategically, with Wikimania, sounds a lot like handing their involvement over to Community Engagement, or worse, to Communications. It seems better to me to have individuals in the organisation submit what they think is interesting than ask an organisation to make a strategic decision.
  • "the programme committee proactively approaches people with interesting things to say about those conversations (from inside or outside the Wikimedia community)" - any programme committee worth its salt already does this. I did it a lot for the Wikimania 2014 programme, anyway.
  • "Less of the programme is reserved for keynotes/featured speakers but more space is reserved for meetups, casual meetings, and lightning talks/poster presentations (ensuring more cool ideas can be surfaced and developed during the conference)" - This is the prerogative of whomever is providing leadership in the programme committee. If you'd like to do this, I recommend you join it yourself.
  • "The Programme Committee doesn’t simply select submissions, but shapes the programme more directly (e.g. creating new sessions, amending/merging similar submissions) so that there is a coherent approach to each of the key conversations involving a wider range of perspectives" - 1/ Generally instead of merging you just accept the best looking one on a topic, and introduce the submitters. Note that people might not want to merge. 2. Instead of creating a session, you approach someone to submit a talk on a suggested topic. Neither of these are really visible externally, so you'd be forgiven for not realising they're happening, but they are happening.
  • "Presenters are given advice and support about how to make their presentations more engaging and interactive (e.g. having professional facilitators available to help develop sessions)" - of course, we can link presenters to educational materials about how to make their talks better, but I expect it won't have much of an effect. Professional facilitators are more budget. You'd be told to see if you can find facilitators who want to help develop sessions for free.
  • "One or more people take responsibility for documenting the progress of each key conversation and identifying next steps." - This makes sense, but I think in practice you would find it hard to find people who want to do this, and if you did they probably have a vested interest in the conversation and so wouldn't be very neutral.

EdSaperia (talk) 19:54, 23 December 2015 (UTC)

I appreciate there's more happening behind the scenes - however, a process where a committee of 12 people spends 3 months reviewing 500 submissions sounds like a nightmare to me, not like something we do because it's practical and efficient. I think you have identified a few holy cows - submissions being the driving force behind the programme, the WMF being treated as a whole bunch of individuals rather than an organisation, not having any budget for anything to do with improving programme - that really need to be slaughtered if Wikimania is to progress. Chris Keating (The Land) (talk) 11:56, 24 December 2015 (UTC)

Step by StepEdit

This is a complicated process and comments above tend to be going in all direction, I suggest going step by step by agreeing on things one at a time. Please feel free to leave comments or vote below. Theo10011 (talk) 08:41, 20 December 2015 (UTC)

1.Should Wikimania be a global event? Would more regional events be better? if so, please suggest what should happen to Wikimania itself.

  • I strongly support a large Wikimania similar to the past. Regional events, which we have dozens of, have been unable to achieve a level of visibility and collaboration that Wikimania achieves for the community and the brand that is "wikimedia".
  • .........

2.What should be the selection process for hosts?

  • Jury based or hybrid form, the only need is keeping the process fair and open. Picking a winner between a committee and staff smells wrong, it should be a process that should have some community input or at least keep things open.
  • ........

3.How to make the selection process easier?

  • The selection process lags every year because it relies on the same individual. Having no set deadlines, and not following any form of schedule makes things confusing for bidding teams and concerned parties. The process should be shared between more individuals and a schedule tended to strictly, with adequate communication to the bidding teams so no one makes any effort more than reasonable.
  • ..........

4.Who should have the authority in deciding on Wikimania matter?

  • This steering committee has been a bad example of how things should go. Another committee in an advisory capacity would be ideal, ultimately, WMF should be entrusted to carry out big decisions in relation to Wikimania. It is WMF who pays for the event and supports the community, it can and should be trusted to act in the best interest of everyone. The only concern is keeping those decisions as open as possible with recourse to disagree or challenge by the community, if needed.
  • .........

Wikimania as an opportunity to raise public profile, launch projects & features, etc.Edit

If we want to grow lesser known projects and encourage use of lesser known features, we should use Wikimania to promote them. We should do a press conference at which we have feature launches by high profile staff/board members. We didn't do this before because we didn't have an army of engineers building things, but now we do.

e.g. This is amazing and could cause an explosion in open data journalism... if anyone knew it existed: https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Extension:Graph/Demo

I think this should be part of what WMF comms does, with community input; a round up of major new things each year to present at Wikimania. It's a big opportunity for outreach and we currently don't take advantage of it at all. EdSaperia (talk)

I put quite a lot of effort into getting press coverage for WM14: https://wikimania2014.wikimedia.org/wiki/Featured_Stories EdSaperia (talk) 22:21, 10 January 2016 (UTC)

Problems and solutionsEdit

The WMF outlines two major problems with the current format of Wikimania (to sum it up): the high cost; and the fact that the performance of the local team greatly varies. These are very real and serious problems, but I don't think any of the proposed solutions address either of them. I am speaking as someone involved in various aspects of organizing Wikimania, although I have not been one of the small core of "main" organizers who have stayed with the project for years.

The high cost problem
The cost of Wikimania for our movement (and the WMF) greatly depends on the local team's ability to attract sponsors/donors, which is tied to the second problem. If the local team is able to raise enough sponsors, then the initial WMF grant of $150,000 for the conference is enough, although in most years this has not been the case.
In addition to that, the WMF flies a significant portion of its staff to Wikimania, plus giving scholarships (including indirectly, through chapters). The WMF staff mostly comes from San Francisco (some work remotely though), while Europe has by far the most people involved in the movement. This means that costs skyrocket if the location is far from these places, and it was one of the reasons that many were uneasy about potential "far-away" locations like Australia or South Africa.
Why the proposed solutions are problematic
The proposed solutions are: have the WMF manage everything; morph Wikimania into multiple conferences; and hold Wikimania every two years.
The first is mainly meant to address the second problem (local teams), because in terms of cost it's like moving from a free market economy to a planned economy. It is unlikely that the WMF and/or any foreign volunteers will be able to get local high-level sponsors wherever Wikimania is held. There will also be a necessarily high overhead of dealing with managers in foreign countries, who won't have the incentive to produce the cheapest conference possible. This means automatically higher costs even before factoring in scholarships. Not to mention, volunteer work will have to be replaced with significant paid work, mostly in US salaries (some of the highest in the world). In terms of scholarships, it does offer a partial solution because of the rotation, but is likely to cause a higher number of chapter scholarships, plus it could be fundamentally unfair, depending on where the conference is held.
The second will raise costs in the long run: local conferences need money too, and if there is a vacuum with no large global conference, the local teams will start (justifiably) requesting larger grants (whether via FDC or GAC) to hold conferences for hundreds of people. We will end up with 2 or 3 annual conferences each reaching costs in the hundreds of thousands of dollars—and it will also open the door to bigger hackathons, bigger thematic conferences, etc. raising the overall cost to the movement.
The third could save costs, but it could introduce the same problems as the second, where in the year with no Wikimania, local conferences will actually need more money overall.
Possible solutions
This is indeed a major issue and I don't claim to have a magic solution, but there are two things which really need to happen IMO to have a hope of reducing the cost to the movement:
  1. Increase income. Surprisingly little has been done in this field, and part of that is the desire to have an egalitarian conference open to all. However, even within that desire there is a lot of wiggle room, and two things can be done: increase registration fees, and invest more heavily in attracting sponsors. In terms of membership fees, as far as I remember, the current ones don't even cover the cost of the food, so much so that the larger Wikimanias opted for boxed food instead of catering meals to save on this cost. Raising the registration fee by 100–300% would still make Wikimania one of the most affordable tech conferences, and an agreement with the local team (if applicable) can keep the current cost for scholarship recipients. Moreover, since our movement often attracts high-profile speakers (not to mention Jimmy Wales), there is room to advertize them as speakers so more people from outside the movement come to hear them.
Sponsorships are a much bigger deal and can completely turn the situation around, but can't be planned. In this regard there should definitely be a reliance on the local team, but at the same time the WMF needs to play a very active role. When a local team member goes to a major company or government office, an official letter from the WMF isn't enough: if appropriate, a WMF representative should join the meeting, and shouldn't shy away from open promotion, e.g. preparing material on the tourist/economic potential of the conference for the local authority/government. In some cases it would make sense to work with local professionals as well. Getting sponsors is an art and profession, and it shouldn't be assumed that the movement can just ask for hundreds of thousands of dollars and get them automatically.
  1. Reduce WMF staff presence. This is actually a major point of contention already, and there's no real reason for the WMF to send so much of its staff to Wikimania. Yes, some staff could find Wikimania very useful, but it's not an absolute necessity. Not to mention staff is housed in (sometimes fancy) hotels which raises the cost significantly. If the WMF wants to send staff to Wikimania as a perk that's fine, but then this cost should be separated from the other scholarship/attendance costs and not counted as part of the conference costs (transparency).
  2. Smaller/semi-peripheral town. One of the reasons Haifa (2011) was able to have such a fancy Wikimania and at the same one of the cheapest, was simply the location: Haifa is not one of the two main cities in the country, and it's considered by many to be peripheral. Not many international conferences of this scale are held there. That's why city hall, and the government, were willing to part with over $100,000 (combined) to have the conference in Haifa instead of the fancier Tel Aviv or Jerusalem. At the same time, real estate/rent/hotels in Haifa are much cheaper, which made everything cheaper. On the other hand, picking too small a town could incur significant transportation costs. Therefore it should be somewhere in the middle; Bristol was a good idea, Gdansk had other problems, but in general midsize town = cheaper.
Bottom line
Even though I have suggested some practical solutions, the cost will still remain fairly high. Our movement has grown significantly and so has its budget, therefore raising expectations. Some people might love large Wikimanias while others think they are a waste of money, but in there are enough people who expect there to be an annual Wikimania at a certain minimum investment, and it would be hard to justify cancelling it on financial grounds alone.
The local team problem
This is actually a problem of trust between the volunteers and the WMF that goes far beyond Wikimania. I don't think I need to tell anyone here about the tensions regarding the WMF board composition, stuff like superprotect, etc. Wikimania is really the smaller part of this, but the issue exists: organizers might feel that the WMF is overbearing and not appreciative of their efforts (from personal experience, these efforts are gargantuan, they really take away your life for almost a year). The WMF might feel that not enough professionalism goes into organizing the conference, which hurts the movement, and organizers have little responsibility and incentive to wrap up after the conference (mostly reporting). Both arguments have merit.
One other point of contention was regarding venues: I'm not sure about 2010 and earlier, but each year in 2011–2015 saw problems with existing venues, leading to "last-minute" switches in 2012 and 2015. Some have blamed the local teams for not getting legally-binding contracts from the venues far out in advance, but often this might not be possible.
Why the proposed solutions are problematic
If Wikimania is managed with little to no input from local teams, this will set a very bad example in the relations between the WMF and the community, and it is clear by now that one thing the WMF does not need is a further disconnect from its users. If Wikimania is taken out from under the local teams, it's a message of taking mistrust to the extreme. It is unclear if it can be put back at any point in the future if/when costs skyrocket. Moreover, the WMF does not have a stellar record in organizing major projects on foreign soil either—like the affiliate projects in Brazil and India which didn't get far. Local teams might not be perfect, but they understand the local culture and many things that are trivial to them will be huge headaches for any top-down foreign organizer.
If Wikimania is split into multiple conferences, the buck is mostly passed onto the chapters, which ostensibly already have high reporting requirements and will be more responsible. This partly solves the problem, but from the vacuum of the lack of Wikimania local teams will want to grow the conferences, and in the end they'll run into more and more of the same problems. In the end only the very large chapters will be able to consistently hold such large conferences, so you'll potentially have 3 major annual Wiki-themed conferences in Berlin, or other parts of Europe at best; and the WMF will have to fly all their employees to Europe every year.
If Wikimania is simply held every two years, it will be the same, only with even more pressure on the local teams and even less incentive/energy to complete the work after the conference. I think this is mostly a suggestion to save costs, and it won't be able to solve the local team issue.
Possible solutions
Since both arguments have merit, this is just a question of balance. The WMF should trust the local team, but also have enough oversight and provide a good bit of help. The personal cost for the volunteers should be internalized, and steps taken in light of that.
For example, one of the problems for the local team is finding the free time to go around "places", like sponsor meetings, meetings with infrastructure providers, etc. while at the same working full-time. Many volunteers take days off work for this, incurrent significant personal financial losses aside from doing essentially free work. At the same time, they often don't want someone else to do it, and can do it very well themselves. So the solution to this isn't to pass the work from the volunteer to the WMF, which is likely to do it worse and for more money—instead it is to set up a separate fund for the volunteer to be able to request reimbursement for lost work days, transportation, and other types of peripheral payments. Compared to handing the work to paid professionals, this will actually save a lot of money.
On the other hand, more often than not, hiring a local professional even organizer saves both time and money. Many local teams are averse to doing this, but experience has shown that it also saves time and money. The local teams should pick the organizer themselves, but IMO this has to be a requirement.
On the issue of venues, this is a problem because at bidding time it's impossible to get a binding price quote, while at the same time changing the venue after the big is problematic. Here it's important to go back to the solution for the previous issue: just like it's better to run the conference in a mid-sized city, it's also better to run it in a mid-sized venue. Every team wants to impress with the best venue in their bid, but the selection committee should actually give preference to more modest but cheaper venues where it is unlikely that price quotes will rise.
Finally, the professionalism of the local team is very important, and should probably be given even more weight in the selection process. Just because local teams are volunteers, it doesn't mean that they aren't also professional organizers; on the other hand, automatically assuming that they are professionals doesn't work either. Past experience in organization should be extremely important, including personal past experience from team members, and if no professional organizers exist in the team, it's even more important to require a 3rd party event organizer.
Bottom line
There is too much mistrust between the WMF and the community on this issue, and it can actually be solved with a financial investment that's modest compared to moving all the work to paid professionals and removing local teams. Like with the previous issue, we need to keep costs down, but at the same time and realize that the community isn't picky about most things, but at the same time understand that the movement has come to expect a minimum standard from our conferences.

Hope my super-long comment/insight were helpful to at least one person reading this :)

Ynhockey (talk) 14:43, 11 January 2016 (UTC)

Thanks for the comments! So, to summarise some of the key points, you suggest favouring medium-sized host cities (Gdansk, Haifa or Bristol rather than London say), and greater financial support for local teams, including local professional organisers. Have I got that right? And to gently dig into it - given the variable interests and capabilities of different local teams, how does one make sure that the local team is able to hire and manage an organiser effectively? :) Chris Keating (The Land) (talk) 21:54, 11 January 2016 (UTC)
Here are some answers, hopefully it clarifies my positions a bit:
Medium-sized cities: yes, absolutely!
Greater financial support: actually that's not the idea. Basically the idea is to finance some things in advance so that you don't have to ("with interest") later. I'll explain: what happened in most years so far was that the WMF promised a certain grant ($150,000 out of my head), but because of certain failings (not pinning it on anyone in particular, things can fail in such a large project), this grant ballooned to double ($300,000) or more. Two of the main "failings" have been the inability to attract large donors/sponsors, and the fact that the venue costs ballooned out of nowhere compared to the initial bid. These two fundamental problems recur almost every year, and I think if the WMF invests some money from the beginning on making sure they don't happen (including money directly given to the local team, but also by helping with sponsors, etc.), they can actually save the much bigger extra costs.
Local professional organizers: this mostly saves the local team the hassle of caring for things like food (which was markedly better in Wikimanias with 3rd parties organizing it, e.g. Haifa, Mexico City), managing contractors, opening ceremonies, etc. This is a huge hassle that can take away tens of hours from each person on the local team a couple of months or more before the conference. It's better if the local team has time for other things. How do we know the local team picks the best organizer? We don't, but this is precisely one point that I think can be entrusted to the local teams more than, say, convincing sponsors. The skill set you need to find a good organizer is local knowledge and past experience, and no matter how good the WMF is, they won't be able to match the local knowledge of the local team (unless they have significant staff presence in the city in question), and won't have the contacts to know about past experience with certain types of organizers, especially in non-English-speaking countries. Where the WMF can help (emphasis on help, not take over) is in writing/negotiating the actual contract with the organizer (where appropriate).
Finally, part of the job falls on the selection committee, which should (I think it already does) ask these questions as part of the selection process. Almost every year so far, there have been at least two serious bids, and many problems with local team dedication and interests can and should be caught at that stage.
Ynhockey (talk) 09:26, 12 January 2016 (UTC)

I don't know...Edit

...what I should say to the ideas on the front site. WMF chokes in money - but these 3 are your ideas? Not my WMF. Shameless. Marcus Cyron (talk) 20:05, 12 January 2016 (UTC)

@Marcus Cyron: Alternatives to those ideas are welcome if there is some other way to address the main issues under the problems section. I want to make clear that we are submitting those proposals with the understanding that we don't have this all figured out. If changes/clarifications need to be made to the existing proposals, or a fundamentally different and better alternative is suggested, it's important to me that participants here know we value that feedback greatly, because we don't have it all figured out. This is the same approach we used with the WMF grants consultation, where an initial proposal changed significantly because of the feedback we received. I JethroBT (WMF) (talk) 19:34, 13 January 2016 (UTC)

jethro, i like the community consultations. as long as it leads to fix the fundamental problem of WMF: WMF eats valuable resources by paying employees, instead of distributing money towards volunteers. so they can meet, and do stuff. volunteer in the sense of (1) contribute software or (2) contribute content. for wikimania itself, there is no checkpoint that not always the same people are going. there is no checkpoint to let only people go who contribute, or start contributing. as you mention grants, there as well is no checkpoint that not always the same persons get money btw. and of one might consider who gives feedback, is it persons who always go, get money, contributes ... so - i admire you and your task :) --ThurnerRupert (talk) 05:42, 10 February 2016 (UTC)

Wikimania 2.0Edit

I have decided to bundle all the comments I think I could make in one section, rather than sprinkle them throughout the page.

  • The main realization no one wants to state, but the sooner we do the more progress we will make, is: Wikimania as we have so far come to know it is dead. Not gone, as we have a couple more to go through before we can replace it, but the point is that we cannot expect to have a Wikimania again like the ones we were able to have for the first ten years. I realized that last year at Mexico City.
  • And this is not for bad reasons. It's because Wikimania is a victim of its own success. When we had to move last year's event from the Biblioteca Vasconcelos, the sort of place we could have had it once upon a time, and a place that said so much about how we see ourselves, to the Hilton downtown (because, it was never stated but I suspect, that could more realistically accommodate the massive amount of attendees we got), I knew this. I have been attending Wikimania since 2012, not as long as some other people here, but even I could see this change happening. Wikimania is becoming a bigger deal than it was ever originally expected to be. This is exactly why we're getting together in a small town in the Italian Alps this summer.
  • The size of the event adds to the constraints on it. Informally, there has always been a short list of places that could probably handle it, where there are active Wikipedians and organizations that could at least superficially be expected to stage an event of this size, but will not be doing so any time soon for political/PR reasons (i.e., we won't be getting together in Shanghai or Moscow soon). And while we might have once plausibly been able to entertain the thought of hosting Wikimania in Uganda, the scale of the event, where at least a thousand people should be expected to show up, pretty much limits us to the sort of developed countries that can host the Olympics and/or the World Cup, minus Russia and China as noted above (And not that it's ever happened, but there might be PR issues if Singapore were to put forth a bid although it could be done there).
  • Visa issues further limit the above, as has been noted elsewhere.
  • So we have to think within those constraints. A rotation might be what winds up happening anyway due to the decreased pool of places we're likely to be able to consider. So we should give serious thought to formalizing it.
  • But I do think we should stick with having it annually. For me the value of the conference is above all getting to see people IRL and talk with them, whether about wiki stuff or not, so I have a face and a personality to put to a signature of someone who may well be several time zones removed from me otherwise, who I would not get to see in the flesh if it were not for Wikimania.
  • Apart from that I do get a lot out of the presentations. I see the point of Frank's complaint, and maybe there should be a greater emphasis on that sort of thing (but it is there). I always find some interesting tech ones, some on the research, some on the movement and administrative side, and I bring bits and pieces of that home with me. At Hong Kong someone from WM-Israel, can't remember if it was Yan or not, said he felt Wikimania was worth it if there was at least one slot where he had to choose between two things he felt he absolutely couldn't miss. I agree—and every Wikimania has had a few of those. I hope they continue to.
  • Going back to what I said at the beginning, going forward we should guide ourselves by pretending Wikimania has never happened before and we are planning one for the first time, with the movement as it is now. What would we do? How would we do it if there had never been a Wikimania before? Daniel Case (talk) 07:27, 13 January 2016 (UTC)

The heading is great, so let me add something in this section.

  1. Apparently there is a problem accommodating WMF staff at the same conditions as scholarship receivers. That's how we got into the Hilton in Mexico City, rather than into some series of B&Bs. I fail to understand why Wikimedia volunteers who are teachers, doctors, journalists, engineers---more or less happily share one-star rooms while WMF staff who are teachers, doctors, journalists, engineers---cannot do below four stars. I understand that I can participate only if I accept the non-luxury offer, or if I put in own money. Why can't WMF staff accept the same?
    I suppose that the volunteers aren't exactly at any risk of going to volunteer for any competing event or organization (for many, it's a vacation) while the staff can easily decide to take any of the job offers from other nonprofits (and companies) their inboxes are presumably overflowing with. (And it's also important to remember that quite a few staff started out as community, and seem to be attending more in that capacity). Daniel Case (talk) 07:06, 14 January 2016 (UTC)
  2. I've been informed that the ratio of scholarship receivers to WMF staff attending Wikimania approaches 1:1. This is insane! Even for a world conference of this size, a delegation of 20-30 WMF employees is more than sufficient to bring the message across. By definition, "WMF staff" is the opposite of "Community". Wikimania 2.0 should be the conference of the community again. That means, community members should attend.
    It did seem last summer that there were more Foundation staff in attendance than ever before. By itself this is not a bad thing ... there are tensions between the Foundation and the community, and there will inevitably be in a movement of this scale and scope, so having a gathering where people can talk face-to-face serves on the whole a good purpose. But ... when issues like that which you raised above (and below) come into play, it is not a good thing.

    Perhaps, were we to decide to split Wikimania in some way, having one event which was focused on the Foundation and another focused on the community more would be a way to consider doing so. But then there are the possibilities for accidental synergy we might be foregoing ... Daniel Case (talk) 07:06, 14 January 2016 (UTC)

  3. People who only deliver a keynote, and otherwise don't even say Hi if they are sitting right next to you, could be joined via video link. Same applies for people who have an interesting talk but their scholarship was turned down, and possibly many other cases.
    A sort of Wikimania de Refusés, or maybe Slamdance type of thing? Daniel Case (talk) 07:06, 14 January 2016 (UTC)
  4. The top X talks as determined by the program committee should be accompanied by a scholarship offer. It is crazy to miss out on some fantastic talks because the person behind it didn't make the cutoff for the scholarship.
    Google plus one.svg Never quite understood this. Daniel Case (talk) 07:06, 14 January 2016 (UTC)
  5. All people awarded a scholarship should get a presentation slot if they wish to. I have by now twice attended Wikimania without presenting anything, this is demotivating in the extreme. Imagine, you pay in excess of 5,000 US$ to have me there, and then you do not allow me to present my ideas? Not even in a 20-seater room? This is beyond insane.
    As with above. Daniel Case (talk) 07:06, 14 January 2016 (UTC)
    Cannot fully agree with this. Some people can be very helpful in sharing learnings and mentoring their communities after Wikimania, or be good contributors to discussions and workshops but be willing to share something hardly useful for the others. I can understand this for talks just below cutoff, but otherwise one can find many opportunities to share ideas at Wikimania (Note: this comment is not personal)NickK (talk) 22:42, 14 January 2016 (UTC)
  6. Talks should be accepted on the basis of a double-blind peer review. We're doing this in Esino Lario this year, but it should not be an isolated case.

Cheers, Pgallert (talk) 10:51, 13 January 2016 (UTC)

  1. +1 again. Daniel Case (talk) 07:06, 14 January 2016 (UTC)

About adjusting Wikimania significantlyEdit

I think turning Wikimania into a scientific conference would provide more importance to it. You can add a part entitled Wikimedia Research to the conference and do a special call for papers for it. You can also publish "Proceedings of the Wikimania" after the conference in which you put all the accepted submissions in all the parts and assign an ISSN to it. You can even try to let it indexed by Thomson Reuters or even Scopus so that it can get cited. By that, more international excellent scientists will come to Wikimania and provide more efficient solutions to its problems.

I also think of creating an online Wikimania in which people can discuss their papers after their appearance in Wikimania with people from all existing communities, can do webcasts about a work that is not evocated in Wikimania and seems to be interesting and can see a live broadcasting of the parts of Wikimania. --Csisc (talk) 10:45, 13 January 2016 (UTC)

Hosting a thematic conference around a scientific-focus sounds like a great idea. One that I think many editors would benefit from. A track on Wikimedia Research at Wikimania also sounds like a good idea. Making the biggest Wikipedia conference science-focused? I'd be concerned that we'd then be alienating a lot of folks who have interests outside of the sciences. Ckoerner (talk) 15:44, 13 January 2016 (UTC)
But isn't OpenSym/WikiSym effectively the scientific counterpart of Wikimania, academic papers and all but simply organized by a different entity? I'd support a formal research track for Wikimania, yes, but I agree that reorienting Wikimania this way would alienate a lot of Wikimaniacs and Wikimedians who'd want to attend but are not scientifically inclined. --Sky Harbor (talk) 15:53, 13 January 2016 (UTC)

Some personal commentsEdit

I don't speak on behalf of the Manila bid team, but I've been egged on by a couple of people to leave some comments on this proposal, which I intend to do here.

Overall, I am disappointed by the proposed overall direction of this proposal, but there are a couple of areas that I would be willing to give consideration to. Some of my biggest problems include the following:

  • Regional conferences — A regional conference will not work in Asia, and during the times we've proposed one, it has been repeatedly shot down by WMF staff because of concerns over impact. While regional conferences have worked elsewhere, they have failed so far in Asia save for WikiArabia and WikiConference India. (That said, there is still talk of an East and Southeast Asian conference to be held either this year or in 2017.)
  • Rotation schedule — The original proposed rotation scheme would effectively monopolize the conference in the hands of the U.S. and Western Europe, which is patently unfair for those of us in the developing world who want to make a meaningful impact on the movement. For most developing country Wikimedians, Wikimania is the only viable real-life platform we have to get our viewpoints across (similar to how most developing countries focus their diplomatic might on the UN) on a level regional conferences cannot. Wikimania is not the plaything of the developed world, and it will be if we stick to that scheme. I am partial though to WereSpielChequers's distance-based scheme, which at least formalizes our current practice.
  • Location selection — What if the Foundation were to choose a location and the community refused to participate? Or if no community exists? That can happen under the current proposals being suggested here.

At this point, I am still very partial to the status quo prior to 2016, with elements from the proposals being brought in. I would support a formal rotation rule and inviting communities to submit preliminary bids 2-3 years in advance, which the Foundation and the Steering Committee can then formulate in coordination with the local community. I likewise support expanding Wikimania's reach online to allow for more people to participate, with the possibility of satellite events (similar to how other conferences do it, e.g. OuiShare Fest) being held in other cities. Finally, I would also support more assistance for regional conferences, including organizational assistance where necessary.

That being said, and I feel I should've said this on the mailing list but I might as well do it here, I am still very disappointed in the Steering Committee's decision to effectively hijack the 2017 bidding process by giving it to Montréal on a silver platter, despite assurances made to us here in Manila that we should bid for 2017, and despite our preparations being made. I'm sorry, but I couldn't possibly believe the claim that Montréal was prepared for a 2017 bid based on 2011 plans, when Manila, Bali and Perth had prepared plans too for the 2017 cycle which should've at least been evaluated first against a possible Montréal bid. I wouldn't mind implementing this for 2018 if it were proposed for the 2018 bidding cycle, with 2017 being the last cycle under the current system, but obviously that didn't happen, and while I will happily go to a Montréal Wikimania, the way that it was given to them still gives me no assurances that this process that we're all talking about will lead to a fair, just outcome for the bid teams involved whose hard work (including ours, mind you!) was sideswiped by the Steering Committee when they decided in Mexico City to undertake their current course of action. --Sky Harbor (talk) 15:50, 13 January 2016 (UTC)

Ideas From Other CommunitiesEdit

I'm fairly active in another OSS community around WordPress. The community there has been putting on regular events around the world for a bit of time now. I'd like to share my knowledge here in hopes that maybe we could learn from their structure. This is not an 'apples to apples' comparison, just to prod some thinking. :) I've helped to host local monthly meetups and our yearly regional conference called WordCamps in the past.

Anyone can host a WordCamp. We have about 8 folks locally each year helping here in my city. There's an application process to the WordPress Foundation which helps organizers think about some of the basic details (logistics, venue, timing, contact info, etc). We have a really solid guide on planning an event that helps local organizers with producing the event. The WordPress Foundation provides central support for budget, logistical questions, A/V recoding, and more.

Then there's two yearly conferences that are bigger, called WordCamp US and WordCamp Europe. Again, local organizers help with logistics, but there's more involvement from the core foundation for these larger events (sponsorship, budgeting, etc.)

If you have other examples from similar communities, I'd love to hear more examples. Ckoerner (talk) 15:59, 13 January 2016 (UTC)

I believe TED conference (global, bigger scale, annually) and TEDx (smaller scale, independently organized, sporadically) are also good examples, but again not an 'apples to apples' comparison. 26Isabella (talk) 15:24, 18 January 2016 (UTC)

A few thoughtsEdit

Let me start by saying that I appreciate that we are even having this discussion; certainly any other movement budget the size of Wikimania's would attract constant scrutiny and review, but for a long time Wikimania has been a sacred cow that nobody is willing to touch. As a self-funded attendee of the event, I have a few thoughts:

  1. Is Wikimania really the most cost effective way to bring the community together? Do we really get a million dollars of value delivered every year? There is lots of anecdotal reports of cool things that happen on the spur of the moment, but is there any cold figures that show that these effects could not be duplicated more cheaply in other ways? From my own attendance, I'm not sure that Wikimania is the best possible use of movement money.
  2. Is an annual conference the best way to go, or would an irregular schedule to coincide with other major events a better way to go?
  3. I think the reliance on local teams, most of whom have little experience running conferences and events of this scale, is a recipe for disaster. I appreciate that Ellie Young does excellent work trying to keep everything on track, but I don't know of any other major professional conference that operates in this way. Would it be better to hire a team with expertise in conference management to make sure that each year goes smoothly and that all funds are accounted for?
  4. From talking to "rank and file" editors at various local events, there is a perception that Wikimania is essentially a free international holiday every year for well-connected insiders. Seeing how the scholarships programme works, and the amount of WMF staff who tag along every year, I don't think that is an entirely unfair perception.

I don't pretend to have all of the answers to the questions posed above, however I do think that a hard-headed and skeptical look at Wikimania is required to see if it is really adding much value for the average editor before further events are planned. Craig Franklin (talk) 11:56, 15 January 2016 (UTC).

A couple of thoughts in response. Re 3 - yes, quite, this is a risk! I have heard hints that over the years there have been several near-misses of something going seriously wrong. However, there are probably many fewer with Ellie than there were before. Re 1 I doubt we have the hard numbers to justify Wikimania as the outcomes are very very soft. That goes against the grain of the WMF's tendency to try to put a number on absolutely everything, but (as many people have pointed out in many situations) a lack of a clear hard number to demonstrate value doesn't mean value isn't there. And re 4 - I wonder whether the scholarship and programme processes can adjust their criteria so they are more open to "ordinary" editors who may be making exceptional contributions in terms of writing up articles or cleaning up after vandals, but aren't on any committees, aren't involved in any chapters, and can't demonstrate how their attendance will further a particular off-wiki partnership. Chris Keating (The Land) (talk) 12:40, 15 January 2016 (UTC)
Appreciate your thoughts Chris. Just in response to your response on #1, I find the idea that "there are benefits but they are unknown and unquantifiable", or that there are no clearly stated and defined goals for Wikimania to achieve, to be rather unsatisfactory. Certainly, if I came cap in hand to any WMF grants programme offering that I'd be politely declined any money. Or, to put it another way, sending me briefcases full of unmarked banknotes with no questions asked would clearly improve my own participation in the projects, but in an unquantifiable fashion ;-). If a million dollars a year is being budgeted annually for "warm fuzzies", then the WMF should just go ahead and say so. Craig Franklin (talk) 13:09, 15 January 2016 (UTC).
Hi Craig,
Re #1: I think this is one of those things where entirely measuring impact is impossible, and trying to make global meetings 10% more efficient by changing the entire structure could end up ruining it. Wikimania has disadvantages, but it has the difficult-to-replace advantage of being a truly global Wiki conference. The impact of this alone is enormous but impossible to measure. True, smaller global conferences can be held, but as I outlined in my comments above, I don't think it will save money at all.
Re #3: per my comments above, there is no contradiction between relying on local teams and hiring a professional event manager; in fact, IMO they must go together. Believe me, even after hiring a professional event manager, the organizing team will still have tons of work to do. The problem right now is that this is considered entirely optional, and the local team's ability to properly hire and manage a professional organizer is not examined at the bidding stage.
Re #4: Agreed, in a sense. In my five Wikimanias I keep seeing and talking to many of the same people, and the insane WMF staff presence is very hard to justify. Indeed, it is clear that for many WMF staff and certain chapter members, Wikimania attendance is a perk and not something anyone expects any impact out of. On the other hand, for most chapter members and certainly community members who receive a scholarship, Wikimania does have an impact, where these people go back to their local communities and create great projects. The same things can be done at the chapters' conference (usually in Germany), but right now that's more of a procedural/management conference with less emphasis on cool projects individual empowerment. Sure it can be expanded, but then you'd just have another Wikimania with all of the same merits and demerits.
Ynhockey (talk) 03:06, 16 January 2016 (UTC)
I appreciate your constructive comments here. With regard to #1, I still have to say that not having a clearly set out group of goals, or any way to measure those, to be not ideal. For a thought experiment, what would happen if we didn't run Wikimania one year. What would we lose as a movement? And what could we do with that time and money instead? Craig Franklin (talk) 12:27, 16 January 2016 (UTC).

combined commentEdit

I endorse User:StuartPrior suggestion for a hybrid alternating regional wikimaniaś / global gathering , the global gathering rotates over different continents and the regional ones could travel in the


I also endorse the notion that the conference should be about organisational matters such as chapter matters , off-wiki volunteering ans supporting the Wiki-community (-ies) and Wikimania should be about community matters.

Wikimania should deal with community matters like : - how should the pillars and code of conduct be interpreted, rules about moderation, the tyranny of the “elected” m(GODS) that are so called appointed by the community but in reality obtained a dozen votes form their friends, about education of moderators, about the obnoxiuous behaviour of moderators ( which why people run away and women don't participate ) - about a state of the rule of law within the community , like burden of proof and right to defence, innocenece until proven guilty and not summary execution like it is now - shouls deal with NPOV or multiPOV ( competing POV) - should deal issues like expert contribution and OR, collection of traditional knowledge from aural transmitted origing or collection of Universal Memory Preservation ( knowledge contained in tradtional ceremonies, dances, rituals etc.. and not recorded in writing ) - wikimania should deal with content collection , content translation , illustration - wikimania should be the platform for thematic groups ( across language boundaries) and language related issues (across countries and continents) - or content generating projects like education paltform or heritage collection projects this said I do not make a diffference about content generation / curation aspec ts and development of tools for the community which are all part of wikimania but I do make a distinctio netween wikimania as about content , tooling an community matters etc and the conference about organsiational aspects wmf affiliates, FDC, AFFcom, board etc however ther should be a limited space of interaction between the content generating community and the organisation affiliates/wmf

Organising Wikimania Itś not only local teams neither professional teams A ) imho the bidding should not be done by a “local team” of volunteers or a chapter based on their capacity to handle arilines and tourist accommodation partners , hwowever commercial partners should unite their forces and bid for a venue , Some of the comments about bidding and how things a re decided mark areas where the process is failing and people a feeling losers after putting in the effort . Differetn contenders are not necessarily competing on level playing field and we should address that .

B) there should be a professional Wikimania organisational team that recruits local volunteers of a venue, and makes sure the volunteers are being rewarded for their effort and not being used as unpaid “slave” labor as is often the case in those mass events C) there should be space in the wikiwmania organsaition and programm plan for spontaneous interaction and initiatives this is why I call it a Jamboree … I think

  • 10% of the avalable time should go to community vs organisational matters
  • 15 % should be resurved for ad hoc initiatives taken on the spot by wikimania attendees
  • max 30 % should be planned presentations and Q&A

and the rest at least 35 % should be interactive workgroup sessions (brtainstorming, discussions etc) rather then pre formatted ex catherdra content

I feel likewise about programme development as User:The_Land but I do also like [ User:EdSaperia]]'s remarks a lot of common ground can be covered there

On presentations Iḿ not sure if a prep sesion with a coach a few days before your talk will turn you into a speaker like Sir Ken Robinson and if you can make your point in 18 mins flat but there should be a trainign trajectory part on line , self study and people assissting with preparing the talk

--DerekvG (talk) 16:31, 17 January 2016 (UTC)

user:Romaine who is very much in sync with the community wrote in an email to me something I would like to add to the discussion :

Quote Hello all!

Two days ago, around the 15th birthday of Wikipedia, the Dutch Wikipedia community awarded in seven categories the users and projects most valued for their contributions to Wikipedia in the past year.

In seven categories a WikiOwl has been awarded, symbolizing the ancient Greek owl for wisdom and knowledge. Free knowledge!

The WikiOwls given recognition and appreciation for all the work done by the users and their projects. Recognition and appreciation that stimulates and gives much enthusiasm to enrich the world of free knowledge even more, essential for Wikipedia's continuation.


[1] [2]

[3] [4] [5]


This makes me think again about Wikimania in the past years. The conferences are great and have a nice program. At the same time I sense something important is missing. I miss in the large plenary sessions the attention for specific users and their projects that are of most value for the movement.

Wikimania is the conference intended for contributors to share their experiences, learn about best practises, work together to use the synergy to get done more. That is what this community conference is about.

Hopefully we will fill this small but important gap of the plenary session(s) with the coming Wikimania, and have more attention for the specific contributions that we as community value most. Let's have many many users inspired by great ideas that they can bring home and into practise.

Thank you.

Romaine Unquote --DerekvG (talk) 13:19, 18 January 2016 (UTC)

On this pageEdit

{{HELP}} User:I_JethroBT_(WMF) Something is not workign on this page if you push "edit source" at an item you end up in another part of the text !!! --DerekvG (talk) 16:31, 17 January 2016 (UTC)

Same for me. Some messup with the <translate> tag, i guess, but I cannot find it. --Pgallert (talk) 06:44, 19 January 2016 (UTC)
@Pgallert: Thanks. I've made some changes that I think has fixed the issue. There is a bizarre error that arises when using editable sections in conjunction with translation tags that renders them uneditable, much to everyone's frustration (certainly mine). It appears to not have been been resolved yet. See the associated ticket, though there really isn't an explanation for why this occurs yet. I JethroBT (WMF) (talk) 10:02, 19 January 2016 (UTC)
@DerekvG: Thanks, just wanted to ping you to the above. I JethroBT (WMF) (talk) 10:03, 19 January 2016 (UTC)

Questions About Eliminating BiddingEdit

According to the plan, will any community be able to indicate its interest in hosting the event? This is the primary question I have.

I also wonder, by 'local communities', do you more specifically mean local Wikimedia communities, or do you mean local governments and business? I feel it would make more sense for the obligation of arranging a proposal to host the event to be delegated to local government tourism and/or commerce committees or the venues themselves (for instance, a University can itself make the bid to host the event on its campus). More experienced individuals directly involved with the operators of the primary host venue and/ or local government of the host municipality definitely make would make sense when it comes to staffing a group proposing to host and/or organizing the event.
SecretName101 (talk) 07:19, 20 January 2016 (UTC)

community feedback in generalEdit

one problem i see with community consultations in general, no matter if it is these ones, or about policies: WMF employees know about them, trigger them, and contribute themselves. influencing the outcome - and with it contributing - should imo not be allowed. its not because of the person, or their attitude. its only because a WMF person is too close to the matter, have the attention to it, and the time to voice an opinion. and with it choke volunteer opinions, which is the single problem i see. employees are most appreciated for listening, and helping. not for influencing. --ThurnerRupert (talk) 05:55, 10 February 2016 (UTC)

@ThurnerRupert: I can't speak for every consultation, but staff were not invited to participate in the this one. This was also the case for Reimagining WMF grants. I JethroBT (WMF) (talk) 22:05, 10 February 2016 (UTC)
@I JethroBT (WMF): the developer code of conduct i find the most prominent current example. it started off here, there is also a phabricator ticket. --ThurnerRupert (talk) 10:57, 13 February 2016 (UTC)

Analysis on repeat funded attendeesEdit

There is often a concern that the same people get funding to attend Wikimania, and some of this concern is targeted at WMF/affiliate employees being funded to attend Wikimania. Surely there is data to back this up, or dispel it. At least the WMF/affiliates should be provide statistics on how frequently their own people re-attend with funding. There are some WMF/affiliate staff that are frankly necessary at every Wikimania. What percentage is probably worth considering, both because it contributes to the overheads of Wikimania, and also the percentage of funded employees and regularly funded volunteers at Wikimania no doubt contributes strongly to how Wikimania is perceived by attendees and non-attendees. John Vandenberg (talk) 06:00, 10 February 2016 (UTC)

Please also take into account that employees may be funded to attend Wikimania in their volunteer capacity. For instance, in 2015 WMUA's only employee (our PR manager) received a WMF scholarship to attend Wikimania as an education programme volunteer — NickK (talk) 10:43, 12 February 2016 (UTC)
Return to "IdeaLab/Towards a New Wikimania" page.