Coming up with a new process for Wikimania selection

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Re: Coming up with a new process for Wikimania selection

Balázs Viczián


I think dividing Europe into two is not a good idea.

More precisely dividing it by the Cold War logic is a bad idea as it has ended 26 years ago.

As of today, -ALL- "Eastern Bloc" countries except Albania are part of the European Union, including even some ex-Soviet states (the Baltic countries). Plus a third of ex-Yugoslavia.

The current geographical distribution would definitely make it hard to have a Wikimania in the eastern part of the EU if there was one in the western part of it the year before.

Just play with the thought that after a "western event" in say Vienna, CEE comes and the best proposed location would be Budapest, Hungary.

I am pretty sure many would consider the locations "too close" in a number of ways (culture, geo, EU, etc) and would prefer a location further east, to have a "better distribution".

I'd be therefore more happy with one single "EU and immediate surroundings" category -Everything west of the Russian border that is considered "Europe" plus some "close enough" locations, like the European part of Turkey (Istanbul&west), St Petersburg and its surroundings in Russia (but Moscow not!), Iceland, etc.

Follow real geography instead of some now obsolete political geography.

Europe proper (meaning as above), Middle East, Central Asia (inc Caucasus, all "-stan"s, Russia except St Petersburg etc), SE Asia, Africa, South-, Central-, North America, etc.

Think outside the box. Not too much though, but definitely a bit.


2015.10.04. 20:11, "James Forrester" <[hidden email]> ezt írta:


TL;DR: The Wikimania Committee and the WMF Community Engagement department will be working on coming up with a new process for venues for future Wikimanias, which we will be seeking input from the community in the next few months


At the Committee’s meeting in Mexico City in August, we agreed to alter the way that Wikimania locations are decided.

The existing bidding process has developed over time. It has become unwieldy and hard work for the community and staff. It demands that people pour a huge amount of effort into building local teams, contracts and institutional relationships only for rejected bids' work to be left unused. A lot of pressure is put on volunteers to try to work on logistics rather than dream about what would make a great programme for our communities. Each year, the jury has to decide on a venue based on what is presented by each group divisively, rather than what we as a community could come together and build.

The process is too short-term, setting out venue much less than two years ahead (often only just more than twelve months in advance). This greatly increases expenses when other similar conferences plan locations out many years ahead. This makes it impossible for us to be strategic about location, prevents us from arranging co-location with like-minded conferences, and it means that some areas of the world are ignored when they could provide great Wikimanias.

Consequently, from now on the Committee will pick an area for Wikimania four to five years in advance, from the following (provisional) list.   The years in which we have already held Wikimanias in these areas are shown in parentheses

* Western, Northern, and Southern Europe (2005, 2014)

* Canada and United States (2006, 2012)

* Asia-Pacific (2007, 2013)

* Middle East and North Africa (2008, 2011)

* Latin America (2009, 2015)

* Eastern Europe, Russia, and Central Asia (2010)

* South Asia (none yet)

* Sub-Saharan Africa (none yet)

* Oceania (none yet)

The Committee intends to deliberately rotate between these areas to make sure we allow as many community members to attend as cheaply as possible.

The large majority of our community members are based in either North America or Europe; organising Wikimanias in these areas allows the majority of our community members to attend cheaply, so that money spent on scholarships can go further, and be more focussed in supporting our community members wherever they are based.

Locating Wikimania in other continents does not assure that participants from these areas  can attend more cheaply. Nevertheless, to support the movement worldwide, we do want to ensure that, every third year, Wikimania will take place neither in Europe nor North America.

We  propose that a sequence of "Western, Northern, and Southern Europe", "Canada and United States", and one of the others every three years, picked out several years into the future. Beyond the first two areas, we may not visit some as often as others. (I have not listed Antarctica as an area to which we will rotate, which may well be a disappointment to members of the British Antarctic Survey and others in that location.)

More widely, we would like to encourage Wikimedia conferences as open, engaging and fun community meetups, alongside the annual Wikimania conference. I know that several chapters run country-specific conferences each year, which is a good move. I think that there should be at least one annual Wikimedia conference in each of these areas. This would help newer editors know that there are people like them nearby without requiring the existence of, or putting too great a demand on, every national chapter or other local affiliated body. In some areas like Africa where the distances are great, multiple regional conferences may make sense.

As part of the new system of location selection, we will no longer have a 'bidding' process. Instead, the Committee invites people interested in leading or helping to run a Wikimania to contact us on-wiki, or via the wikimania-l list. If you think that you know a great team, venue or concept for holding Wikimania, in your area or anywhere else, please discuss the possibilities with us. We will work with interested community members to narrow down the selection to a particular venue.

Our next few locations will thus go like this:

* 2016: Western, Northern, and Southern Europe – Esino Lario in Italy

* 2017: Canada and United States – TBD

* 2018: TBD – TBD

* 2019: Western, Northern, and Southern Europe – TBD

* 2020: Canada and United States – TBD

* 2021: TBD – TBD

As you can see, as well as picking the 2017 venue in Canada or the United States, for which we have a candidate lined up, we need to select very quickly the area for 2018, and after that, 2019 and beyond. There are several areas we’ve outlined above that have never had a Wikimania, and others where we have not visited for some time. We would love your thoughts on the areas on which we should focus for 2018 and beyond. We’ll also be asking in future for your thoughts about how to structure the programme of each Wikimania to make it as good as it can be for you, for others, and for our community overall.

Thank you.



James D. Forrester

Chair, Wikimania Committee

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Re: Coming up with a new process for Wikimania selection

rupert THURNER-2
In reply to this post by James Forrester-2
On Tue, Oct 6, 2015 at 4:35 PM, James Forrester <[hidden email]> wrote:

> On Tue, 6 Oct 2015 at 01:59 Lodewijk <[hidden email]> wrote:
>> Did anyone do a calculation whether holding it in an expensive city (say,
>> London) with cheaper flights actually /is/ cheaper than holding it in a
>> cheap city in Asia (say, Delhi or Mumbai)? And then I don't mean WMF-budget
>> wise, but total costs: including the costs by all affiliates, and the costs
>> privately paid for by the volunteers. I recall being positively surprised
>> that there was very little difference between India and Berlin for the
>> chapters meeting...
> pick of areas. For example, the additional cost to the community of hosting
> Wikimania in Australia is (very roughly) US$1k extra per person from outside
> Oceania compared to the base cost, and US$1k less for each person in
> Oceania. At typical levels of 800 non-local self-funded attendees, of whom
> we have around 10 from Oceania, and 400 local people who wouldn't otherwise
> come at all, This means an additional community cost of ~US$750k (and a
> bunch more for Wikimedia organisational funds, paid directly from WMF or via
> the chapters) in return for the opportunity for 400 local Oceanians to
> attend who wouldn't otherwise have the opportunity.
> Off the top of my head, the numbers are roughly comparable for Latin America
> (slightly less for Mexico), a bit lower for South Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa,
> and Eastern Europe/Russia/Central Asia, and lower still for Asia Pacific and
> the Middle East and North Africa. The numbers drift from year to year a bit,
> but sadly there's not much impact on the overall headline whilst the editing
> community is so unequally geographically distributed.
> This is why we included the call to area to get into the practice of having
> annual regional or sub-regional conferences. These would let a much larger
> portion of our community more easily afford to come to an in-person
> community event to share their passion, talk about what we can do to improve
> the projects, and learn new things. This is what the Wikimedia conferences,
> be they the global Wikimania or the regional "Wikimeetings" (people should
> suggest a great name!), should be about.

that is an interesting way to see it. i checked flight prices from
europe to america. in the same category around 400-600 usd are: san
francisco, new york, washington, boston, chicago, orlando, miami,
montreal, toronto, belo horizonte, brasilia, porto alegre, rio de
janairo, sao paolo, natal, recife, goiana, fortaleza, macelo, manaos,
sao luiz, vitoria, florianopolis. this would suggest that brazil is
included together with canada and united states, don't you think?

if we want to change something i'd find it appropriate to put a little
bit more thought into it. how much of the total 100 mio USD should be
spent to "let the right person meet somebody else in person" would be
the basic guiding principle. and all meetups would need to be part of
that thought. to give a couple of examples which only involve

option1 would be to let people apply and then choose the location
according to a calculation to minimize total cost. this of course
takes the tourist aspect out of wikimania :) you could go the FIFA way
and let the orgainzing city pay wikimania.

option2 would be to increase the fun and tourist factor. then you have
to go to every country once, so the next wikimania in the united
states would be in the year 2170. so a person can have a lifetime
achievement list "go to wikimania once".

option3 would be to classify participants. who are the persons we want
to meet. persons fully in their professional life, who sell every hour
to somebody, where time counts, who cannot afford to travel a little
bit further to sleep cheaper. or persons who do not care so much about
time, who travel further to sleep cheapter, who maybe have time to
contribute to wikipedia. you then would look out for cheap medium
attracting cities.

option4 is be to see it as marketing event for wikipedia contribution.
one could only meet in countries where there are not so many
wikimedians to allow a lot of persons with little idea about how
wikipedia works to participate, and see. cities like accra, lagos,
johannesburg, dehli, shanghai, etc.

option5 is to see it as source of income. then you could organize the
event in easy to reach locations, and set a high price tag to attend.

option6 is to scrap the current format, as travelling 2000km to listen
to a presentation is a last century concept. presentations would be
encouraged to be done at home and shared via youtube/commons or
whatever is technologically good. presentations are voted on, and
wikimania might get a workshop format to discuss the presentations.

james, does it make sense to consider some of these options? i know
this is nothing for next years wikimania, but for 2017.


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