Since Wikimania was postponed back in 2020 there always has been an intention to take Wikimania to the ESEAP region as soon as the world was able to convene people like Wikimania does: https://wikimania.wikimedia.org/wiki/2020:Wikimania
- ESEAP Wikimania 2023
- General appetite
- Regional collaboration?
Iolanda, Butch, Gnangarra, Winnie, Ivan, Deror, Phoebe, Mayur, Lisa, Andrew, Florence, Joël
- Since the last time we spoke about ESEAP Wikimania in March of 2020 a lot of local communities are trying to pick up planning their in-person activities and events
- There are some uncertainties in ESEAP about the format of Wikimania and what the implications are for a local hosting team
- The Bangkok chapter has not been incorporated yet, and there are some Legal issues to take care of before that can happen
- A regional collaboration is still possible but a local host will still need to take the lead on sourcing venues, vendors and working on the program etc
- Risk assessments should be updated taking into account the new reality of the world
- Wikimedia Australia is still capable of hosting but length of journey makes it harder. A suggestion to look into travel hubs in the region: Malaysia, Singapore, Japan, Seoul, or other destinations in the region.
- Wikimania is and always will be a movement-led event. The field is now open for the Wikimania SC to take the event in whatever direction works best based on the new guidance (virtual, hybrid, in-person only). Once we decide format then can look at more details
- A centralized in-person event is what we should look at. People are eager to meet in person, and have been wanting to take Wikimania to Asia for a long time.
- We could collaborate with a university. It makes it easier to work with a foreign affairs ministry, for visa purposes, if we were to work with an institution like that. We could hire a local project manager if there is no community in the location. A university can be a partner, not necessarily the venue.
- We need to consider language barriers with Wikimedians as it's required to speak in english for the planning process
- A vibrant group of people are joining ESEAP chats. How strong is appetite to host? What are they thinking for Wikimania 2022, how strong are the volunteer communities there now?
- We need to update our risk assessment on Bangkok and compare it with Seoul, Jakarta, Singapore, Manila and other possible venues in Asia. Safety of Wikimedians is an important subject, and we will need Legal support for any risk assessment
Other locations and considerations
- Wikimania in South America is something that was discussed a few years back. Bolivia and Colombia have a growing movement of volunteers.
- Could we consider 4 (regional) hubs instead of one? North/South America, Europe, Africa and ESEAP? There are some carbon footprint considerations to take into account. We should maximize people getting together locally. We'd keep the virtual element. Some key people can be flown from one event to another?
- Interesting idea but worries about logistical bandwidth and capacity are imminent as these are 4 events to organize.
- The risk of regional Wikimania's is that the same people in that region meet each other. Wikimania should be face to face, even if we do it bi-annually.
- Regional conferences are hard to organize and it is about 2/3 of what it takes for a Wikimania. In the US we are thinking of local places where people meet in a room, which has less of a carbon footprint.
- So many people came to 2021 Wikimania who could have never gotten a visa. Last year's scholarship program supported the participation for whom the visa process would have been very lengthy.
- We have an entire Foundation team to support local organizers. We don't need student volunteers to negotiating contracts for venues, for example. The local team needs to address the content.
- We also have a stronger financial base for Wikimania. There is no strong need for a large local team.
- Moving forward, an inperson Wikimania will always need to incorporate a virtual component for inclusivity as with most global conferences
- The WMSC are all in favor of Wikimania in ESEAP. Butch to check in with the communities in the region and inform the Wikimania Steering Committee next time we meet in May.