WikiIndaba conference 2017/Program/Wikimanias

Here you will find some notes for a presentation given on the WikiIndaba conference 2017 on the 22nd of January 2017 at 9 am by Gereon Kalkuhl, followed by a talk from Kacie Harold on scholarship applications.


Wikimanias are gatherings of Wikmedians from all over the world and include talks, presentations, tutorials, discussions, panel talks and cultural events. I would like to give an overview of how they came to be and how they developed.

The first Wikimania was hosted in the year 2005 in Frankfurt, Germany. Since then it has been hosted annualy in different countries and continents. I will talk about highlights from each of the Wikimanias, about the bidding history of the applications to host a Wikimania, about problems that the organizers encountered, about talks that really made an impact, about the challenges and beauties of each of the 12 locations. An outlook on Wikimania 2017 in Montreal, Canada, which will take place from the 9th to the 13th of August 2017, will be included.

Wikimania 2005Edit

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  • Took place in a Youth Hostel in Sachsenhausen, which is the night life area of Frankfurt, Germany.
  • The goal was to get active contributors together and show them all the differenct Wiki projects.
  • In the summary after the conference the goal was marked as “reached” with 380 attendants from 50 different countries.
  • The whole event was broadcasted life on a free internet radio called “Freematrix”. No other Wikimania since then accomplished that.
  • Most talks were in English, some were in German.

Wikimania 2006Edit

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  • The following cities applied for Wikimania 2006: Boston, London, Milan and Toronto.
  • It took place inside the Harvard Law School in Cambridge, Massachusetts, near Boston.
  • Travel scholarships were issued by, among others, Nokia.
  • The documentation of this Wikimania is a catastrophe. You can still read about the planning, but all contents of the actual conference do not exist online.

Wikimania 2007Edit

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  • Took place in the Chien Tan Overseas Youth Activity Center.
  • The online help pages are perfect. They are fantastic and exemplary. For each aspect you can find texts, pictures and videos.

Wikimania 2008Edit

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  • Took place in the new library of Alexandria. So for everybody that found the presentation for 2015 in Mexico sensational, we already had a Wikimania inside a library in 2008.
  • Inside the library an institution has it’s home: the International School of Information Science (ISIS). Programm and all scripts of the Wikimania are on the website of ISIS, not on Meta.
  • Out of the 600 attendants 450 were from Egypt. The remaining 150 were from 40 different country, which was a strong decline of being as international as possible.
  • 2 Israelis were attending the Wikimania in Egypt
  • The main focus of the Wikimania was the so-called Middle East and the Arabic Wikipedia

Wikimania 2009Edit

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  • There were applications to host a Wikimania by Brisbane, Buenos Aires, Karlsruhe and Toronto
  • Talks were in English and Spanish
  • It took place in the General San Martin Cultural Centre, a public building
  • There was a security problem. Four Laptops were stolen and three backpacks
  • All participants had to fill out an extensive feedback form after the conference, so that future Wikimanias could learn from things that were not going so well

Wikimania 2010Edit

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  • The presentation that got the most votes, when judging which was the best of the whole conference, was „Conflicts between chapter and communities“
  • The conference took place in the Baltic Philharmonie, a very new and modern complex built in 2002

Wikimania 2011Edit

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  • The Post of Israel was issuing a postage stamp for the Wikimania!
  • One of the 4 main sponsors was the Israeli Foreign Ministery
  • There was one special thing that stayed in the minds of all participants. One thing that the organizing committee picked a symbol of remembering the Wikimania when presenting it for example 2 years later: The Beach
  • There was a Facebook Group with 500 likes with the title „No for holding Wikimania conference in Israel“

Wikimania 2012Edit

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  • Took place in the George Washington University with a prereception in the Library of Congress
  • Jimmy Wales' appearance was controversal. He was celebrating a user called „Rauan“ Wikipedian of the year. It turned out that Rauan had strong connections to the president of Kazakhstan, that many see as a ruthless dictator.
  • Another controversy was a video message from Hilary Clinton to the conference. She emphasized how much the US stands for and supports free knowledge, while at the same time there was a demonizing and a hunt by the US regarding WikiLeaks.
  • It was a very prudish Wikimania. When someone was showing an almost nude person in a presentation or someone used a swear word the organizing committee was appologizing many times in front of everyone, with such dramatic words that you though somebody must have died.

Wikimania 2013Edit

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  • What stayed in mind was the huge number of really helpfull and ambitious helpers. On short notice they could convince a 3-digit-number of pupils from high schools to help.
  • Some chapters send more chapter employees than editors, which led to discussions in some communities.

Wikimania 2014Edit

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  • In the Barbican Center the conference was spread over many floors, yet with almost 2000 attendants your were only a small disappearing group among the many visitors of the complex.
  • The food was as „boring“ as in Washington, but even worse. Well, it was in England.

Wikimania 2015Edit

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  • Hosting the Wikimania in Mexico City was sold under the premise that it would take place in a futuristic library complex, architecturally absolutely fantastic. Turned out on short notice that it was not possible to have it there, so they had to switch to a 5-star hotel

Wikimania 2016Edit

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  • A mountain village that had less inhabitants then attendants. Everybody in the village was involved in hosting the Wikimania.
  • It was exemplary for a Wikimania having a long-lasting effect on the infrastructure of the surroundings of the venue.