Wikimania 2008/Wishlist

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Do you have wishes for what Wikimania 2008 should include? Any recommendations what to avoid and what not to forget? If you think of the previous Wikimania conferences: What went right, what went wrong? What should we keep, what should we change?

Please don't forget to use a expressive heading (for instance "comments" is not an expressive heading)!

Conference planning softwareEdit

This is the second time I participated in organizing the programm of Wikimania and its just a pain not to use a convenient conference planning software that automatically creates you an online and printable schedule, papers for each room to print out etc. Next time definitely you should use the Pentabarf system ( which was created for Chaos Communication Congress. It has been used now for more then 30 events. Wikimania has reached a size that is not manageable any more by hand or just with a Wiki with copying and pasting all night long. While other conference planning systems are created for scientific conferences, Pentabarf better fits for community events like Wikimania.

The "Open Conference System" ( might also be worth a trial but the current system just does not suit and Wikis are not suitable neither to manage linked lists of people, talks, events, rooms, plans etc. -- Nichtich 08:28, 2 August 2007 (UTC)

Speakers I would like to seeEdit

Next year I'd like to get Tim Spalding (LibraryThing) for a keynote speech and Rick Gate (Interpedia) to talk about the early days of Usenet etc. Tim-Berners Lee might also be able for a keynote but this needs more time to plan in advance. -- Nichtich 08:22, 2 August 2007 (UTC)

As always, we need more women and more diversity generally. There was a good balance of community people and external "big names" this year which I'd like to see repeated in future years. Angela 08:07, 5 August 2007 (UTC)

Are there some sort of requirements for speakers? How about Sir Tim Berners-Lee, founder of the WWW? (speaking engagements section on TBL's site)? Gary KIRK parler! 14:06, 29 August 2007 (UTC)

Sorry, I completely missed reading the above. Good idea! Gary KIRK parler! 14:07, 29 August 2007 (UTC)

Windows free, proprietary software free, conferenceEdit

Taipei showed its love for Microsoft by having Windows on all available Kiosks and many conference laptops. During her keynote Florence talked about how the Foundation uses only Open Source Software while her slides were being displayed on a Windows machine. Give me a job that needs to be done, I'll show you how to do it using only OSS. --Alterego 05:12, 5 August 2007 (UTC) (Brian Mingus)

This is not the job of the WMF. If you want to have kiosks run Linux, volunteer to set this up. Test it out well in advance and make it your job to get the systems back in the state you received them. GerardM 12:01, 7 August 2007 (UTC)
That's not a problem. --Alterego 10:06, 8 August 2007 (UTC)
The kiosks offered you the option between Windows and Ubuntu. I think that realistically it will take several conferences before a Wikimania conference will use prorietary-free software. We unfortunately have to accept what the sponors give us because finding a sponsoring company that only has open-source software is not always that easy (ie sometimes vegans have to accept a non-vegan vegetarian compromise when eating outside of home). Or put it another way: Buddhist monks try to be vegetarian (as well as onion and garlic free) whenever possible, but whenever they travel around the world and beg for food along the way, they have to accept the meat that was given to them so long as the animal used for the meat was not killed for the intention of feeding the monk. Finally religiously forcing everyone one way makes us no different than say Bill Gates or George Bush. Allentchang 22:59, 7 August 2007 (UTC)

Videos available for download immediatelyEdit

It was planned that videos would be made available at the end of each day for download, but the organizers found that it took too long to rip the DV to disk. Streaming worked out fairly well (although the streaming servers crashed just before my talk), but consider that there are people in every time zone around the world that are interested in watching these talks. They may not want to wake up in the middle of the night just to watch a talk, but maybe sometime during the next day. If you can broadcast a live stream, then you can rip your live stream and make that available the instant the stream is finished. Then take as long as you want to copy the DV to disk and publish higher quality versions at your leisure. I would like a goal of the next conference to be the immediate availability of video files for download. --Alterego 05:17, 5 August 2007 (UTC)

Videos available for download at allEdit

Not much good quality video has come from Wikimania 2005/2006. This is really very regrettable. We'll see how 2007 coverage ends up. So far I am optimistic on what will come from Taipei given the number of camera crew around. Everybody at the 2007 conference struggled to make hard choices with up to 6 concurrent sessions. It would be nice to be able to catch up later on missed sessions. But even more importantly it serves the larger community that could not attend the conference, and helps them to stay in touch. I dare even say that some speeches had some historic value, and hopefully are prepared in broadcast quality. Erik Zachte 21:35, 7 August 2007 (UTC)

Double-sided name tagsEdit

Tired of your name tag flipping in the wind and having to constantly look down to see if your name is being shown? Let's have everything printed on both sides next year. Slightly more expensive, but this is a huge annoyance to all conference attendees! Idea from here. --Alterego 05:21, 5 August 2007 (UTC)

Hehe I get that with my college ID card - what's more annoying is when you walk along and it swings up and down tapping you on the chest... Majorly (talk) 08:18, 5 August 2007 (UTC)
The same remark about double sidedness was made a year ago, and rightly so. Also slightly impractical is that the length of the cord means you can have to crawl under the table to see with whom you are dining :)

Mugshots onlineEdit

Online mugshots of all attendees, submitted at registration. Solves

  • Who was that certain man with that savoir-faire that I met last Wikimania?
  • Anybody know which one Fred Nurdowitz is? The hotel said he forgot his slippers.

Jidanni 15:44, 12 August 2007 (UTC)

Presentation File DownloadEdit

For English-weaker, please gather and share the presentation files before. Except that Wikimania2007 was FANTASTIC! --Zepelin 14:02, 5 August 2007 (UTC)

Without a dedicated, powerful conference planning system to let presenters upload their files, automatically remind them via mail, create a sorted list of talks etc. this is unlikely to happen. Collecting the diversity of speakers is already enough work but with inappropriate systems like MediaWiki (or quick combinations of MediaWiki and a conference planning system with not enough features) it is unlikely to have presentation files before the conference. Unfortunately most people in the Community with enough technical skills or motivation to admin such web-based systems better like to do MediaWiki-stuff for obvious reasons. If you are (or know, or want to become) a skilled Ruby programmer then please have a look at Pentabarf to help! -- Nichtich 18:26, 7 August 2007 (UTC)

Allow upload of all types of presentation files -- PowerPoint, OpenOffice Impress, PDF, etc, at least temporarily to allow gathering of files. It's simply a matter of flipping a MediaWiki switch, which could then be switched off again, still allowing viewing and download. I know there are concerns about vulnerabilities of macros in certain file types, but if uploads were limited to presenters and staff that would be minimized. And perhaps those who are committed to open software only could volunteer to convert PowerPoint presentations for those who cannot? 22:36, 13 August 2007 (UTC)

Awards presentation that survives bad wifiEdit

For two years the awards ceremony suffered from bad wifi connections that could not handle bandwidth needed for large images. Both award presentations also looked somewhat improvised (I'm sure because the selection process itself will have used all available time, solution: sharper deadline) which IMO did no justice to the outstanding and very well prepared contributions. Price winners and runners up should get the attention they deserve. Both years the presenters showed their enthusiasm but seemed somewhat distracted by techno mishaps. I look forward to:

  • A slide show of the best contributions per category, not just the winner (in 2007 we missed out on some real gems)
    • I know that I'm shooting my own foot by saying this (especially when I won two awards), but yes I agree that we DID miss some real gems. I've seen pictures on the Commons that I regard to be much better than mine. I participated at the last minute because I was annoyed at the lack of participants in the contest. Maybe next year, one month before the Conference, messages should be automatically sent to all Wikimedia Commons users who had featured photos or quality photos for that year. These messages should urge them to participate in the competition. Besides submitting one own's photos, maybe one user could also nominate another user provided that the other user is still active in the Commons. Allentchang 23:10, 7 August 2007 (UTC)
  • Images presized for good viewing and prearranged in viewing order (in 2006 we saw a real juggling act with too much unorganized tabbing, scrolling back and fro and resizing, made even more tedious by the slow page builds)
  • Images prechached on local disc so that the show runs smoothly and does not depend on availability and speed of network

Why not prepare an Impress presentation so that the speaker can focus on the speech and not on taming the technology and on GUI dexterity? Erik Zachte 20:50, 7 August 2007 (UTC)

You mean the Awards presentation? We selected winners just in the lunch time of the day (so we've missed splendid dishes almost). If we had prepared our presentation in Impress, we would have missed the afternoon presentation (I attended Catherine Heather's) or Jimmy's talk. Unless the winners are chosen before the conference, it would be a harsh demand for juries and attendees to prepare such presentation, sacrificing their time with friends at conference. --Aphaia 17:33, 10 August 2007 (UTC)

Crime and safetyEdit

I know that Taipei is safe to travel at night and the crime rate is relatively low compared to many other cities in the world. Should crime and safety be a consideration for future conference sites? Allentchang 23:12, 7 August 2007 (UTC)

When the decision is made, factors like this will be taken into consideration. Majorly (talk) 10:28, 8 August 2007 (UTC)
I hope not! How many interesting places around the world we might miss out on... for the most part, everyone is tucked away in the "Wikimania cocoon" anyway. Certainly the venue should be safe. But the city itself? eh... --pfctdayelise 10:53, 19 August 2007 (UTC)
Well, I do love to explore foreign cities as long as I don't get mugged or get my wallet stolen. Allentchang 15:10, 20 August 2007 (UTC)
You just have to be smart about where you go and what you do. Don't go alone at night to a lot of cities. Go in groups. Mike Halterman 10:10, 22 August 2007 (UTC)

Greater participation for those who are not head honchosEdit

I know that Wikimania is a technical and scientific conference; however, I think in the future all efforts should be done to encourage people not familiar with Wikimedia or the casual Wikimedian user (ie those who don't want to lead projects or are just content to edit Wikipedia) to attend the conference. It could serve as a type of Expo where the average person can be more aware of what's going on. For instance, I'm just merely a causual Wikipedian, but the conference has helped me to see what else is going on in this wiki world. Of course, people can learn more about Wikimania and allied projects trhough video streaming, but that serves no subsitute as to actually being in the conference in person. Allentchang 23:19, 7 August 2007 (UTC)

In contrast Wikimania should be an international meeting of those that are already familiar with Wikimedia projects! To get to know Wikimedia projects you should better organize local events like Wikipedia Academy and so on. Local events are also better to get in contact with the projects because you can do them in your local language instead of English. Local events can also be organized by a local Wikimedia chapter while Wikimania is the event of Wikimedia foundation. Of course Wikimania can also attract new users but the most important purpose is meeting of free knowledge and Wikimedia communities. -- Nichtich 02:46, 10 August 2007 (UTC)
I think the best answer would be somewhere between what you said and what I said. Allentchang 16:48, 10 August 2007 (UTC)
Seconded Nichtich. Also I would add already we have many not-so-much-involved users and also not-at-all-Wikimedians. For example, from Japan 19 people attended, but among them I know only 7 or 8 with their user names. Some of attendees from Japan were even unresistered and even not anonymous editors. They are just visitors of the website and interested in the project. Already we heard last year complaints about non-Wikipedians overpresence, I think we don't want to promote agressively to increase the number of outsiders. It will make Wikimania as a genuine conference not of Wikipedians. In my opinion 5:5 is already fair enough. --Aphaia 17:38, 10 August 2007 (UTC)
Didn't know that it is fifty percent "in-house people" and fifty percent "outsiders." In that case, yes, it is fair enough. Allentchang 09:07, 11 August 2007 (UTC)
Please note I have no detailed stats about this year conference. But in Boston we saw 200 core Wikimedians among 400 whole participants. As for the latest conference, maybe registration committee would be able to inform the stats how many people had Wikimedia accounts among over 1000 participants. --Aphaia 16:33, 12 August 2007 (UTC)
The local press reported between 400-500 actual participants. Other than that, I have no idea. I do know that two sessions were conducted totally in Chinese, which unfortunately forced me to become an impromptu moderator/translator although my job was supposed to simply be a session assistant. Chinese isn't my first language, but somehow I did okay with the translation. Allentchang 14:11, 13 August 2007 (UTC)
Thank you for your occasional translation works! It was lucky for us to had have you at that room. I didn't know that. I'd like to learn how you managed it for our further and better organization ... Interesting. They have an online version? (I can try to grasp the vague meaning thanks to my hanyu/kanju knowledge). You mean that putunwa/Mandarin is not your first language ... out of curiosity so you are active on another project, like, Min-nan or something? (I was wondering if I could met A-giou at the conference who is my old friend on Wikipedia ...). --Aphaia 14:21, 13 August 2007 (UTC)
Need to make a clarification. I was born in the US so my native language is English. I spent my teenage years in Taiwan, however. Therefore I know more Mandarin than a typical American Born Chinese does. I took one semester of Min-nan at UC Berkeley; they use the same romanization as the system used in the Min-nan version of Wikipedia. However, I've forgotten most of the stuff that I learned in the course.
What happened during two of the sessions was this: the speakers simply couldn't speak English and the organizers apparently told them that this was okay. Unfortunately, this of course caused many non-locals to shun those sessions. Still, there was a significant non-local audience in one of those sessions because the first half of that particular session was about the Hebrew Wikipedia: that half was conducted in English. When the second half of the session started, most of the non-local audience were too polite to leave.
I heard that the Wikimania in Germany had a few sessions that were conducted only in German. So an important concern is this: should there be translators for sessions that don't use the conference's lingua franca? Allentchang 15:00, 16 August 2007 (UTC)
But you know? ほんやくコンニャク (Translator's Devilfish) is the solution to all of our problems. Just serve them as snacks in the open space lounge and all language problems will be solved. And instead of online power point presentations, we could serve アンキパン (Memory bread). Of course, this would also mean inviting Doraemon to the conference. Allentchang 15:07, 16 August 2007 (UTC)


For a change, a place that is a bit cooler? 10:57, 10 August 2007 (UTC)

If you think Taipei was awfully warm and humid during the summer, why don't you try Indonesia, Singapore, or Malaysia? Hong Kong's climate is similar to Taipei. Maybe Okinawa would be more tolerable if there are sufficient Wikimedians there. At least the heat in Taipei doesn't create the death tolls seen in heat waves in Europe. Ironically, people freeze to death in Taiwan during the winter. It's merely a question of air conditioners and heaters. Maybe there could be the provision that the conference date shifts according to the climate and whether or not the conference site is either in the Northern Hemisphere or Southern Hemisphere. Allentchang 16:48, 10 August 2007 (UTC)
Of course we have no say over location, but with the Beijing Olympics around, it might be convinient for some people if the location has a direct flight or short flight to Beijing. On the other hand, if next year's location is far away from China, air prices might be more reasonable. Allentchang 09:07, 11 August 2007 (UTC)
Oh dear, please be aware we are a global community, so there is no place air fare is within reasonable price for everyone. For me, example, flight of round trip costed around 500 USD (KIX-TPE). Is it reasonable? Actually the flight to Boston costed me 1300 USD or more, and I needed to buy OSA-NRT (100 USD) in addition to that!
Airfare for flights between Taiwan and Japan are too expensive to my point of view. During the low peak season, a flight from Taipei to San Francisco costs around US$600. Maybe we need airlines to sponsor us. During the opening ceremony, some European delegate hinted that it was a pretty long journey from Europe to Asia. Allentchang 14:11, 13 August 2007 (UTC)
As for weather, every venue has its benefits and demerits. Taipei is actually hot, but it is not unbearable. Please note, more people complained the too strong air conditioner rather than the natural condition ... <g> --Aphaia 16:39, 12 August 2007 (UTC)
Air conditioners were set between 23 to 25 degrees C.
[yes, after I went around cranking them up by a degree or two when nobody was looking. Brrrrr. Jidanni 18:31, 15 August 2007 (UTC)]
I was tempted to post pictures of the on-site digital therometers on to the Wikimedia Commons just to let everyone know what the indoor conference temperature was. Allentchang 14:11, 13 August 2007 (UTC)
Doesn't Tokyo or Beijing get awfully hot and humid during the summer? Allentchang 15:00, 16 August 2007 (UTC)
Yes, but in Tokyo air conditioners are set normally around 28 degrees C, and recently so-called "coolbiz" campaign (dress casually for not using air conditioners heavily), rooms are much less cooler than before. I don't know the Beijing situation. --Aphaia 15:15, 16 August 2007 (UTC)

Laptops rental serviceEdit

I haven't brought my computer to the Wikimania this time. It's not that hard for me to find a computer to use, but a more personal one seems better. Stewart~惡龍+Chat here! 13:14, 14 August 2007 (UTC)

The challenge of course is to find a sponsor who is willing to take the risk that no rented laptop gets vandalized. Maybe a OLPC rental service should be provided because they are rugged after all. Allentchang 15:00, 16 August 2007 (UTC)

Preconference workshopEdit

It would be nice to have a preconference workshop on what a wiki is, how to edit and a quick outline of Wikimedia vs MediaWiki vs Wikipedia. There were several people there who were very much newbies with wikis, but otherwise very smart people very instrested in the free content movement. Perhaps a session could be run at the same time as hacking days.--Cspurrier 21:52, 17 August 2007 (UTC)

I agree, I spoke to quite a few people who were not Wikimedians and so a little bit puzzled at all what was going on. It seems as long as there is no other major wiki conference, we will get non-Wikimedians coming to Wikimania. Which is no bad thing -- getting an outside perspective was very interesting and useful IMO. pfctdayelise 10:51, 19 August 2007 (UTC)
Agreed. I was asked if there would be a plan of workshop for non-Wikipedians but translators. It could aim to the local audience (a target language into their language or vice versa) or the broader. A workshop for newbies before the main conference looks nice to me. --Aphaia 11:50, 19 August 2007 (UTC)
During the volunteer training session for Wikimania 2007, volunteers were given a crash course on the various Wikimedian projects. Volunteers were also shown pictures of various people that they HAD to know to prevent the volunteers from accidentally not giving these celebrities enough respect. Pictures included that of Angela Beesley and Jimbo:
Allentchang 14:58, 20 August 2007 (UTC)

Separate days for hacking days extra and CJUEdit

It would have been nice if the days for the CJU and hacking days extra did not conflict as I would have rather liked to attend both but was forced to choose. The board retreat also took away several valuable people away from the CJU. --Cspurrier 21:52, 17 August 2007 (UTC)

Consider providing childcare/"family & friends" programEdit

This is a way we can be welcoming and inclusive. I hope it could be a point to consider for the group that chooses the winning bid. pfctdayelise 10:48, 19 August 2007 (UTC)

Agreed. This year I was impressed there were kids around the Open Space. Local people seemed to bring their kids also. I am not sure international audience will do so too, but it would be nice to have such activities as well as newbie workshop. --Aphaia 11:46, 19 August 2007 (UTC)
Actually, the son of one of the speakers served as a volunteer at the registration desk. Originally I thought he was a local volunteer from Taipei American School so out of curiosity, I asked him about his background. He seemed to got along really well with the local volunteers. By all means we should welcome Wikimanian families and find fun projects suitable for children. Allentchang 15:06, 20 August 2007 (UTC)

Photo pre-roundupEdit

Half the photos that will taken at Wikimania be lost unless everybody at the conference receives a sheet of instructions telling them that when they get home, remember to download all their images to Commons at (this URL...) and categorize them into (these...) categories by adding (this...) text...

Perhaps put the message as a separate page into their info bags that they receive at registration. Also of course put it on the conference website. But not all participants will check there.

Also give the notice to staff and volunteers and press etc. Anybody you see with a camera.

By 2008 disk space will be cheap so all photos are worthy perhaps of storage. Of course users will use taste in uploading. Mention "blurred shots are need not be uploaded," etc.

Jidanni 22:38, 29 August 2007 (UTC)

Green EnergyEdit

Why not run the confrence by energy produced by clean sources?

That's a great suggestion, however the main concern would be budget. There's not that much funding available to the conference already, and so I feel whomever wins the event will have to find the environmental alternatives that add the least amount of cost beyond the regular equivalent. Finding a host location that has an existing environmental framework in place could help. -- Zanimum 13:40, 6 September 2007 (UTC)
If the event is held in Atlanta on the Georgia Tech. campus, I'm sure some part of it will be held in the Campus Recreation Center. This is an amazing facility that has a roof completely covered in solar panels. -- Wikipedia:User:BAxelrod Sept. 9 2007
It would be taking the piss to run a conference on green energy that had people jetting in from all over the world to attend it. Having several simultaneous regional meetups instead of a global conference would be a much better idea, and aside from the environmental advantages this would allow more people to participate. 16:47, 20 April 2008 (UTC)

Transportation costsEdit

Is there any way to make a deal with a particular airline or alliance of airlines to help reduce transportation costs? Could we get them to charge us a tour group ticket price provided that a significant number of attendees fly the same alliance of airlines? Allentchang 06:26, 18 September 2007 (UTC)

Tours of local regionsEdit

Should tours of local regions take place before or after the conference? Would more people attend local tours if the tours took place before the conference? I personally would prefer the tours to take place before the conference, but that's only my opinion. Allentchang 06:26, 18 September 2007 (UTC)

Wikimania AwardsEdit

I suggest that there should be a two-tier awards system for next year’s Wikimania. One class should reconfirm the results of the Wikimedia Commons Picture of the Year contest by personally awarding those winning photographers with award cup and prizes. Another class should be similar to Wikimania 2007 where any Wikimedian could submit a photo for the competition and where the appointed jurors don’t know the name/username of the contributors when they judge the photos.

As for prizes, maybe we could ask a flash memory sponsor to provide flash memory prizes, as they are easy to ship if the winner cannot attend the awards ceremony. In addition, flash memory has no region lockout or incompatibility compared to many other types of gadgets. Another possibility is to award winners with full scholarships to the following year’s Wikimania conference. Allentchang 06:36, 18 September 2007 (UTC)

Actually, even easier than shipping would be if they could provide coupons for a free Flash drive, so thus no shipping cost to speak of, really, just a buck or two postage. -- Zanimum 14:36, 18 September 2007 (UTC)

Disscusion of motiveEdit

I think they should disscus how we are looked at in culture and how to get new editors. Also I think there should be recordings of key events and sent directly to the commons.--Arceus fan 23:43, 24 September 2007 (UTC)

Promotional Website bannersEdit

I will be making English only promotional banners, regardless who wins the bid. After the bid is done, they will be available in 120 x 240 and 468 x 60. They will be animated. Miranda 06:41, 28 September 2007 (UTC)

General Banner. Miranda 08:52, 28 September 2007 (UTC)