Wikimania 2016 judging criteria

Wikimania is the annual conference centered on the Wikimedia projects (Wikipedia and similar projects). It features presentations, lectures and discussions on Wikimedia projects, other wikis, open source software, free knowledge and free content, and the social and technical aspects which relate to these topics. The most recent Wikimania was held in Esino Lario, Italy in June 2016, and the next Wikimania will be held in Montreal, Canada in August 2017. It is organized by volunteers and Wikimedia Foundation (WMF) staff. Proposals are solicited from the community from people or organizations who may be interested in hosting Wikimania. A Steering Committee sets policy, approves the criteria, and provides assistance in helping prospective hosts with their proposals.

Selection Criteria


The specifications listed below are the projected minimum required elements for a Wikimania, and the minimum responsibilities of the hosting team/organization. They should be seen as requirements and not just recommendations. Hosts that wish to provide anything less than the minimum level required by the specification, please state these changes in your proposal. The host is not responsible for the provision or cost of any services not listed in this document. Please let us know if there are any local laws or customs which might conflict with this specification.

The committee will consider all the elements of a proposal in making its decision, it will focus most of its attention to the provision of basic / minimum requirements as specified. Also the following preferences will be factored in as well:

  • Conference be held in a venue that is close to lodging (it can also be in a hotel itself)
  • Lodging that is within walking distance that is affordable, clean, and safe (or transportation is provided for the attendees from the lodging to the venue)a
  • Close proximity to an international airport
  • Conference should be held in the July-August timeframe (note: not to clash with religious holidays). The conference takes place over a weekend, usually Thursday through Sunday.
  • Conference facilities should accommodate anywhere from 700-2000 attendees, depending on location (the main hall of the venue should be able to host all attendees for the keynote talks)
  • Ease of getting entrance visas to attend
  • Personal safety of participants (e.g., welcoming environment/culture regardless of people's sexual orientation, race, age, gender, expression, disability, etc).
  • Flexible meeting space that can accommodate multiple tracks for five days
  • Meeting space that is attractive for socializing, open 24 hours, and close to restaurants, transportation, etc.
  • Catering menus that will accommodate special needs (e.g., vegetarian, gluten-free)
  • Network infrastructure including Wi-Fi
  • Ability of hosts to meet their financial responsibilities

Deadline Instructions


Proposals must be submitted on the meta page by November 15, 2016. All prospective hosts must contact the WMF Event Manager Ellie Young ( to seek advice from her and the Steering Committee in the preparation of the bid. Prospective hosts are also encouraged to create a page on meta early on that expresses their interest. Local hosts must document in their proposal how their financial obligations will be funded.

Proposal Format


Proposed Typical Schedule

  • Day 0: Move-in
  • Days 1-2:8-10 rooms needed for hackathons, workshops, and meetings
  • Day 2:Evening welcome reception/ceremony
  • Days 3-5:4-8 tracks; one main hall to accommodate all attendees (more than 1,000) for plenary session, balance of rooms to accommodate anywhere from 50-150 people classroom; 5-8 small meeting rooms for 10-30 people; a foyer or large room centrally located for participants to congregate; spaces for breaks and lunches.
  • Day 5:Afternoon/early evening closing party
  • Day 6:Breakdown

The schedule above is an example, and is subject to change depending on the final program. Timing of the receptions and social activities are negotiable.

The local hosts and WMF Events Manager will find meeting rooms for hosting meetings for the WMF, sponsors and other organizations. If there are costs associated with providing these meeting rooms, the WMF or other organization will be responsible. These meetings and costs must be approved before they are incurred.

The Conference Team


The volunteer team should be comprised of people with heavy involvement in the Wikimedia movement’s projects. A core team will need to form at the bidding stage and stay involved throughout the year, coordinating the entire operation with WMF. These people should almost all be located near the site of the conference. Some team members will only become involved with specific parts of the conference (for instance, the scholarships committee). Some volunteers will only be able to provide remote assistance online, performing tasks that can be done remotely such as reviewing submissions and scholarship applications. Finally, some team members may only become involved at the last stage of the conference—immediately before, during, and after the conference. These team members may be volunteers who come from the hosting institution or from other local groups (such as a local university).

The Conference Venue


Wikimania has traditionally been held at a campus venue that can accommodate multiple tracks. The conference can also be held in a hotel. Both need to be located close to lodging so as to eliminate transportation costs and make it easy for attendees to attend and meet up. The hotel or conference facility should be conveniently located in a metropolitan area close to other hotels, restaurants, banks, public transit, and shopping areas.

The venue must be able to handle Connectivity requirements (See Appendix I).

The venue should be able to serve lunch and morning and afternoon refreshments during breaks.



Accessibility to international airports and convenience of travel to and from the venue will be considered by the committee when selecting a location. Information regarding number and frequency of international flights to the venue must be provided.

The proposal should indicate any restrictions on any individuals traveling from specific countries. It is important that participants be able to obtain the required documentation from the host country. Where problems exist with obtaining VISAs, the local host must indicate how these difficulties will be addressed. Local hosts must indicate the assistance that will be provided to those who do not have access to the host country’s consulates. It is recommended that consulates worldwide be informed of the conference to expedite the processing of any necessary documentation. A list of countries requiring visas for entry into the host country, as well as locations offering visa services on behalf of the host country, should be provided.

Local hosts must be prepared to assist participants and the WMF with VISA and customs issues.

Local hosts should provide a welcome desk/people at the airport and/or at the conference venue to assist participants as they arrive to find transportation, hotel and venue.

Basic Requirements


The following elements are required to hold a successful Wikimania. If the local host find that they need to modify these arrangements, the changes must be approved by the Wikimania steering committee and WMF events manager in advance of the conference. The latter should be consulted for advice when you are looking at prospective venues.

Meeting Rooms (set up and A-V Requirements)


The following information contains details on what meetings will be held in each room, on which days the meeting room is required, the set-up, and basic A-V requirements. All meeting space must be booked for a 24-hour basis.

  • Standard Audio/Visual Package:
  • LCD Projector
  • Screen
  • 3 table microphones
  • power sockets/strips for requested number of people
  • Microphones in aisles for Q&A

Rooms : Recent Wikimanias have utilized the following. (The WMF Events Manager will share a more detailed meeting specifications upon request.)

  • 1 large lecture hall or auditorium for plenary session, which can accommodate 1,000+ attendees
  • 8-10 meeting rooms to accommodate anywhere from 25-150 people, classroom and lecture style
  • 6-8 meeting rooms for 10-25 people (pop-up meeting for Foundation and other groups; press room, conference organizers room, storage room, etc.)
  • For Hackathon: First 2 days: one room to accommodation up to 200 people; 3-5 additional smaller meeting rooms; area for lunch and breaks; 3 days during conference: 1-2 rooms.
  • An area for a conference lounge/gathering area with internet and seating for 200+ people
  • Accessible and well-located areas for set up off conference registration, information desk and a chapter’s village.
  • Foyer or meeting rooms to host refreshments and lunches close to sessions.

Network Infrastructure


This is an essential and critical aspect of the conference. Attendees MUST be able to reliably send and receive both encrypted and unencrypted data freely. The importance of reliable systems is critical. The network must be fully operational from Day 0 through Day 5. it will be used by up to 2,000 people at the same time, putting a big load on any system.

Bandwidth and Internet Requirements: See Appendix 1.

Support Services


The local host team must be able to be reached on a 24-hour basis. A representative from each group (host, WMF staff, hotel, campus, IT, AV, etc.) must be able to respond immediately to help resolve issues that may arise. It is important to the success of the conference that all systems are functional, reliable and have back up services and equipment.



The venue should be able to accommodate voice and data roaming compatibility for mobile phones and devices so that they can function effectively for the large audience. The local host will provide at least 6 local mobile phones/walkie-talkies during the conference. These are for local contact with the host, WMF staff and contractors. WMF will pay for the costs of these phones.

Video of Conference Sessions


The local host will work with WMF staff to find a reasonably priced service to video, edit, and archive a selection of the conference talks.



The local host should provide information related to childcare services and activities for children/families.



Accommodations must be available for the participants. Hotels should be available in a variety of price ranges to accommodate those traveling on a limited budget. College dormitories for 200 participants should be considered. These properties should be located close to the conference venue. Ideally one reasonably priced hotel to accommodate most of the attendees is preferred. Local hosts will help identify potential accommodations to the WMF events manager. The latter will be responsible for negotiating and contracting with the hotels.

Emergency Contact


The host will arrange for an Emergency Contact with the WMF. The emergency contact must be a local number. The contact can be one or several persons. The person responsible should be familiar with the city, speak fluent English as well as the local language and be familiar and able to assist in obtaining medical, policy, legal or other types of emergency assistance. This person will be in close contact with WMF staff in the event of an emergency. This information should be included in the conference information for the participants.



WMF will provide registration services and badges for all attendees.

Conference Materials


Working with WMF events manager, hosts will find vendors for design and production of conference t-shirt, onsite booklet, and other materials as needed. They will also provide content for these materials.



WMF will contract and be responsible for online registration services before the conference. If requested, the local hosts will assist WMF in handling registration duties at the venue. The registration desk at the venue should be staffed by a minimum number of 4 people to distribute badges, registration packets and information to the participants. The registration desk should be staffed from 07:00-18:00 from Day 0-5 by at least 5 persons. WMF will set up and manage the registration website. The registration data is the property of the WMF. It is not permissible to use the registration data for any purpose other than to project attendance at the conference.

Help Desk


If requested, the local hosts will provide personnel at the registration area during conference hours every day to answer questions from attendees.

Safety and Security


Steps that the local hosts plan to take regarding safety and security must be detailed in the proposal.

Safety: Reliable and safe medical care must be within 20 minutes of proposed venue.

Attendee Security: A reasonable amount of security must be providing during the meeting hours. Any security information about the local area in relation to attendee safety must be provided with the proposal. This should cover a general overview of the area surrounding the venue, transportation safety, city safety, etc. Also local customs that may not be obvious to attendees but breach-of can be a safety concern, like public display of affection or dress code in conservative countries should be addressed in the proposal.

Asset Protection: A significant amount of equipment will be brought in during the conference. This includes routers, switches, A-V equipment, etc. Security must be provided to protect this equipment. Either security personnel and/or locked rooms will be required. New locks may be required on rooms as well.



Local hosts are encouraged to solicit sponsors to help meet the financial responsibilities of the conference. They will work closely WMF staff to vet appropriate sponsors. WMF will be handling sponsorships, especially from past conferences, to help offset meeting expenses for which WMF is responsible.

Acknowledgement of sponsorship will be displayed at the venue and on the web site. Sponsorship levels and benefits will be decided by the WMF in consultation with the hosts.



Conference information will be provided both on the web site. Local host will provide links and information for travelers, weather, visa and custom requirements,local transportation, and social events. WMF will post this information as well as the schedule of meeting events which is received from the program committee, and pre-registration on the web site.



Local hosts are strongly encouraged to involve the local Wikimedia community in the conference. Please detail in your proposal how you plan to do outreach to the local and regional community to encourage submissions and participation at the conference.

Summary of Local Hosts Responsibility


The local host will be responsible for the following:

  1. Providing people to help serve and/or interface with the Scholarship and Program committees
  2. Providing volunteers to help with onsite logistics, registration, outreach, media/pr, web site content, network/connectivity infrastructure, coordinating volunteers, finding sponsors
  3. Finding support from local chapters, governments, universities, venues and NGOs.
  4. Looking for media interest and PR opportunities
  5. Locating vendors to provide required services (with the WMF events manager)
  6. Planning, hosting and finding sponsorship as needed (e.g., for receptions).
  7. Assisting with extraordinary immigration and customs problems of participants



Venue costs: WMF assumes financial responsibility for the meeting room costs, the technical specifications, and the A-V and Internet requirements. The local host will be asked to provide help to WMF in selecting the location of the conference. These expenses must be reasonable and within the budget/grant from the WMF. If the costs are over budget, these must be guaranteed/covered by the local team and/or a sponsor. The local host is not responsible for negotiating the contract with hotel or venue. The local hosts will be asked for help in identifying vendors where needed. All requests for meeting rooms and equipment other than those stated in the specification will be coordinated by WMF to minimize additional charges.

Catering: The local host will not be responsible for providing any catering other than the social event below. The local host should provide some indication in the bid of how much catering for lunches and refreshments might be (include copies of venue's catering menus is helpful.)

Conference Receptions: The local host will assist the WMF Events Manager in organizing these events. There are usually two of these. One on the evening of Day 2, 3 or 4, and a closing party on the last day. The local host will seek out sponsors as needed.

Travel & Accommodation: All participants, or their sponsors, are responsible for arranging and financing their own travel and accommodations. WMF will be responsible for providing these arrangements for WMF staff and board/committee members, some guest speakers, and WMF Scholarship recipients.

Changes: WMF and the Program Committee may request changes to the above specifications.

Cancellation: Should circumstances arise where the meeting is cancelled, WMF will be responsible only for cancellation costs that are detailed in the proposal (e.g., hotel and venue contracts.)

Insurance: WMF will require local host to obtain insurance for the items in the RFP which they are responsible. Specific requirements should be discussed with WMF staff. WMF will provide and pay for liability insurance during the conference week.

Misc: The creation of this specification does not create any obligation on WMF and the Wikimania = Committee to select the recipient or any applicant/host for a Wikimania conference. The selection is based upon location, pricing, volunteer support, and other factors that may or may not be disclosed to the applicants. All decisions regarding to the location and selection of hosts will remain at all times solely within WMF and the Wikimania Committee's discretion.

Appendix 1 Wikimania Internet Connectivity


General requirements


Functioning wireless Internet for all attendees (1,000+) is an absolute must. Because of the diversity of computers and mobile devices used, the wireless network must not have any captive proxies, connection timeouts, network-level malware checks, or other things that limit connectivity. Ideally an open network is used, but encryption with a password is fine so long as the password is well distributed. One password per device is not acceptable.

The venue must prepare for about 1.5 devices per attendee. Every attendee will have at least one device that wants an IP and potentially two or three. With this in mind, a /23 subnet (which supports 510 devices) or even a /22 subnet (which supports 1022 devices)—instead of the usual /24 subnet for 254 devices— should be considered. Note that the bandwidth is a lesser concern compared to support for concurrent users. While wireless is very important, the venue will also need to support wired connections, especially during the Hackathon. There must be at least one RJ45 socket in each lecture hall, connected to a central network rack. Extra switches may be necessary.

Hackathon Technical Requirements


The subnet and DHCP server must have capacity for allocating 6 IPv4 (and optionally, IPv6) addresses (preferably a /29) per hacker. This would be nice, but to be realistic, two IP addresses per person present are probably sufficient.

The following ports need to be open:

  • SSH (22), DNS (53 — TCP & UDP)
  • HTTP (80, 8080, 8888), HTTPS (443), FTP (20, 21)
  • IMAP (143, 220), IMAPS (993), POP3 (110), POP3s (995)
  • SMTP (25), SSMTP (465), SIP (5060), RTP (7078 - TCP & UDP),
  • XMPP/Jabber (5222), IRC (6665-9)
  • Gerrit (29418)
  • ICMP (ping, traceroute) should work.

Ideally, there's no restriction on outgoing connection at all, or maybe just a blacklist for Bit Torrent and other such undesirable ports. The only thing we need incoming is DNS (yes, please allow direct external DNS replies) and ICMP.

Thanks to ICANN for providing the original RFP from which much of the above was built.