Wikimania 2006/Boston/Other


InfoEdit

Basic informationEdit

  • Helpers (Local and Wikipedian org team)
  • Support (Berkman, MIT, other support staff)
  • Sponsorship (Sponsors and contributors, current & potential)
  • Resources (information resources for organizers)
  • Notes (random wiki-notes, unsorted)

Conference planningEdit

  • Calendar (planning schedule, focus groups @ unis, hacking days, conference)
  • Events (parties, socials, tours)
  • Housing (contacts, room allocation; incl. MIT M-W)
  • Rooms (contacts, availability, hours, capacity)
  • Registration (coding, rollout)
  • Gear (actual infrastructure; who owns what; rentals & purchases)
  • Receipts (actual expenses)

Speakers & PresentationsEdit

  • Speakers (suggestions for law, tech, education, wiki, collaboration, news, sociology...)
  • Tracks (how to divvy up the speakers along related lines)
  • Program (fitting speakers into available rooms and days)

Hacking DaysEdit

  • Hacking program; coding coordination (Integration with local coding efforts)
  • MediaLab involvement, party.

Website and publicityEdit

  • Announcements and press releases
  • Website (design, structure)
  • Registration (interface details)
  • Publicity, blogosphere seeding, &c.

Budget & process managementEdit

  • Tracking (ticketing system, email)
  • Timeline (milestones, volunteer allocations; coord with the calendar of events)
  • Budget (in money, space, time and gear; and planned sponsorship/costs)

Information resourcesEdit

BudgetEdit

Location (rooms, tents, &c.)

90% covered.

Lodging (couches, dorms, hotels for speakers)

12 couches so far. good rates for HLS; overflow in Lesley. Hotel quotes good through Jan.

Furniture (what needs to be rented/borrowed? tables/chairs outdoors? meals in pound? stage props in Sanders?)

Catering (options : HLS, HUDS, Beauty's, Charles, Dudley Coop)

mainly for organizers; catered group dinners; and parties. Shared cooking @ DC for 50 :)

Transport (T-passes; buses, shuttles probably unneeded)

$7/12 for main-conf/week.

Administration and Organization (food, supplies [most can be gotten via depts], odd appliances, extra meals)

Appliances: badge printer/laminator, photo printer?. access to p-copier, transparency printer

Tech (supplementary net, wired-to-wired hubs, wireless-to-wired routers?)

supplementary network, incl. print network.
conf. laptops; support for public terminals (Harkness, et al)
phone setup - wireless phones; local cells. pager rental.
radio setup - via MIT Radio club; 12-20.
spare parts (via EECS)

Printing & Burning

Hardcopies of a Wikimania Daily [what happened where; to catch up on all the sessions one /didn't/ attend.]
Online: a version w/ audio and video clips.
Preliminary proceedings (just abstracts)
DVD of audio/video/other clips made @ Wikimania - x600
Hard drives of full sessions & digital texts? (for people from low-connectivity places) x40

Social Programs (Parties, walking tours, building/library/museum tours, forest excursions, sculling, beach bumming)

Sound and radio (Ideally with an announcer this time, introducing the live feed and filling in gaps)

Someone at Opsound or Creative Commons could help with this part; or FreeMatrix again :-)

Speakers/presenters (travel, room/board, incidentals)

separate full invites, scholarships, and no-fee presenters
Share speakers when possible (FSF, W3C, Cyberarts)

Other (unforseen costs, &c)


IncomeEdit

Sponsors (PR, travel, hacking)

Registration (corp, stud/comm, other discount)

Booths

Swag

Suggestions!Edit

add your own :)


Suboptimal roomsEdit

  • Science Center auditoria : two auditoria seating ~500 people. Easy to book, good for presentations. Supersized classrooms more than normal auditoria; no stage, but a long desk up front.
    Cost: variable, <$800. Distance: 50m. A/V support : good support, projection. Massive quad-blackboards.
  • Pound Hall : Four large classrooms, 100, 101, 102, and 107 (seating 119, 114, 93, and 78) together seat over 400 (A/V). Distance: 50m
    Two smaller rooms, 106 and 108, seat 34 each (A/V)
    Second floor : (Pound is full of useful rooms) four seminar rooms seat 75/65/56/30. The John Chipman room seats 120 or feeds 80. Rm 204, a small seminar room, would be perfect for isolated interviews. Pound is a good building for interview rooms, regardless of where the sessions are held.
    Third floor : Two multipurpose rooms seat 80/60 or feed 72/40.

Self-evaluationEdit

  • Weaknesses of the proposed location ...and how to overcome those weaknesses
  1. Entering the US can be difficult for attendees who cannot get visa waivers. And expensive!
    Solution: 1) Harvard deals with this constantly. Problems in obtaining visas can be reduced by preparation in advance and with help from the university. Harvard has a diplomatic office that handles visas, invitation letters, and the like for honored guests; and an International Office to coordinate student visas and visitors for research and short-term visits. MIT has its own international office; like the Harvard office, they have direct connections in embassies around the world, and bring guests from scores of countries to MIT each year.
    2) I spoke to a friend (Patricia Jimenez) who used to work at a US embassy in South America and now works at an immigration firm in Houston, arranging visas and the like. She offered to help, and said that for a short visit for a specific event at a university, one generally just needs to allow enough time to do the paperwork. "any applicant invited to a Harvard conference has a huge advantage... A good letter of invitation on Harvard letterhead goes a long way."
    3) Only around 60 attendees are expected to need visas and have no waivers. Perhaps half of these will be directly financially sponsored, another great help in expediting the process; and the rest can be given individual attention and help. Visa fees to the US are slightly more expensive than to Canada; all such fees can be reimbursed, as we will be saving money in other ways.
  2. Entering the US can be annoying, even for visitors with visa waivers. What's this I hear about biometrics?
    Solution: Current US entry procedures involve digital fingerprints; a quick process, but it can still be annoying. 'Biometric' passports will not be needed to enter the country next year. The US thought they were a good idea a few years ago, and began introducing such passports for its own citizens, but do not require them to enter; however, they do require 'machine-readable' passports from citizens of countries that offer them.
    As with visas: getting one's ticket well in advance, having a specific destination such as a conference, and having an invitation from a recognized institution like Harvard, makes everything smoother.
  3. Driving around Boston is dangerous -- where did all those pedestrians come from??
    Solution: Bring a bike, not a car. Or rent a bike while you are in town. Also, it's extremely easy to use only public transportation around the city. Many locals do not drive or bike, and still travel the city very well. Boston is small enough that it can be walked from end to end with relative ease. The streets used to be cow paths, and are thus extremely easy to navigate on foot.
  4. Americans are rude and monolingual
    Solution:
    1) There is an active international community here, especially from South America; Boston could host a bilingual English/Spanish conference more easily than Toronto. Most everyone speaks both American English and Bahstonian; a surprising number know a third language other than Greek or Latin. The university community here - like the local planning team - is multilingual; BU for instance has one of the largest international-student communities in the country. These are the community members who will provide much of the local support for attendees.
    2) Bostonians are only rude to Yankees fans.
  5. All these locals would crowd out attendees from farther away.
    Solution: We will have to restrict access thoughtfully wherever we hold the conference. This is a bonus in Boston; we can charge standard conference rates for locals, offering heavy discounts for community members and students, and use the conference fees to support travellers from farther away. There is also enough local interest to have large satellite events - evening speakers earlier in the week? - that everyone can attend, perhaps to support the conference.
... (suggest your own :)
  • Strengths of the proposed location
  1. Excellent academic support. Collaboration with Harvard and MIT gives the event great credibility in both the sciences and the humanities. We have eager contacts in Harvard Law school, Medical school, College, and school of Government; and in MIT's Media Lab, Business school, and computer science department.
    These are many of the people who create and vet the world's other reference works; we could coordinate a fantastic track on quality control and academic contribution to the project.
  2. Strong community support. Boston has a large, active community of Wikimedians, with extensive contacts to the local blogger, non-profit technologist, and research communities. There are Wikipedia meetups twice a month, conferences including or discussing Wikipedia almost as often, and local wiki-based startups.
  3. Strong local sponsorship. More than a dozen independent groups have expressed interest in providing free space, equipment, printing or art; free professional staff time or experienced volunteers; covering expenses for speakers in their fields of interest; or directly donating money to Wikimania. Around half of these have made firm commitments to do so.
  4. Low cost. Collaboration with Berkman gives us free facilities, free expertise in managing large events in this city, and connections to many interested sponsors. We can find funding for most on-campus expenses. Roundtrip airfare is $50-$200 lower to Boston than to Toronto for many locations outside of Canada; closer to $200 for major cities in the US that are expected to provide half of the attendees.
  5. Good subsidization of travel by locals. Interest among Bostonians is high; simply to keep non-community members from flooding the conference, we would need to charge standard conference rates. This means we could make attendance cheaper for people travelling from far away.
  6. Location, location, location. Harvard Square is in the heart of one of the greatest college towns and oldest cities in North America, with a huge progressive, multicultural, and techno-savvy community. One can find in the area almost anything one is looking for. Located directly on a beautiful river (now clean!) and harbor. Half an hour to the beach; 3.5 hours to New York City on a fast train that rarely derails.
  7. Public transportation: The MBTA, the public transit system around Boston, includes a subway system, buses, boats, and commuter trains. It's very easy to get around without a car.
  8. Walkability/Bicyclability: It's particularly easy to get around Cambridge and Boston because of the infrastructure and short distances between locations. There is a good bike rental shop in the area.
  9. Food: The area hosts lots of excellent restaurants representing the many cultures and ethnic identities present in the city. It's possible to find vegan restaurants, halal meat, organic meat, Kosher, etc.
  10. PR : Our new pro bono public relations firm (Schwartz Communications) has offices in Boston, making coordination of PR for the conference a snap.
  11. Gender diversity: We have great connections with interested orgs that are dominated by women: Technobabes, local Nonprofit-organizer meetups, and librarian groups (SLA et al). Helpful in balancing gender at the conference.
  12. Massachusetts is the only state to vote against Nixon and Reagan.
  13. Gay marriage is legal in Massachusetts, so while you're here why not marry you someone you love?
  14. We are a WikiCrazy town.