Update on Wikimania '18

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Re: Update on Wikimania '18

Federico Leva (Nemo)
Chris Keating, 31/05/2018 15:50:
> Therefore, the observation that some people get scholarships several
> years in a row is not strong evidence that the selection process is
> somehow biased towards a select few...

True. Personally I would not state that there is such a bias, although
there might be (mostly because past applicants know how to file
successful applications).

But I do state that the system is not redistributive, and might even be
regressive (using concepts from fiscal policy). This is not an
accusation: it's just not designed to be.

Federico

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Re: Update on Wikimania '18

Harry Mitchell
In reply to this post by Chris Keating-2
Since you raise chapter scholarships, it would be nice to see some of the other big chapters (and to some extent the WMF) spending more on scholarships for rank-and-file Wikimedians rather than staff and board members. That might help with the perception that Wikimania is the same old faces year in, year out. 

Harry Mitchell
+44 (0) 7507 536 971
Skype: harry_j_mitchell

On Thu, May 31, 2018 at 1:50 PM, Chris Keating <[hidden email]> wrote:
Let's imagine a totally fair, but not very good process: Scholarships
get allocated completely at random. Some people would keep getting
allocated scholarships, entirely randomly.

Therefore, the observation that some people get scholarships several
years in a row is not strong evidence that the selection process is
somehow biased towards a select few...

(I mean, it is biased, towards people mainly active in smaller
language projects and from the Global South - that's quite deliberate
- and then it's biased towards Germans, because WMDE offers dozens of
scholarships for Germans outside of the WMF scheme. But those are
separate issues....)

Chris

On Thu, May 31, 2018 at 1:25 PM, Vira Motorko <[hidden email]> wrote:
> Hi all, I'd like to add a few words.
> Applicants tend to forget that same people are likely to be selected if same
> people are applying.
> I do not think that it is a first job of scholarship committee to check that
> every year there are new people. If certain community has a problem that
> Wikimedians go to Wikimania but fail to report back to the community and do
> not bring back new knowledge, then it should be discussed within the
> community. I do believe that local community can find a way to encourage or
> discourage people to apply for a scholarship.
> If there is trust in the community, discussions within it will bring ease.
> For example, different applicants can gather and compare their applications,
> and decide for themselves why scholarship committee liked this one better
> than that one. And write better application next time. Talk to each other,
> people.
>
> Best regards,
> user:Ата,
> applied but did not receive scholarship in 2012, 2013, and 2014; received
> scholarship in 2015 and 2016; haven't apply since; gave advice to several
> other people with their applications
>
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>

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Re: Update on Wikimania '18

Pine W
Harry, I recall hearing that there was a push a year or two back to alter the proportion of presentations at Wikimania so that there were fewer WMF presentations and more community presentations. I don't know if that was a one time event or if that's ongoing. I have never been to Wikimania, and have no plans to go in the foreseeable future, but I watch what happens with Wikimania partly because it's an expensive operation in terms of financial cost and in terms of volunteer time. Also, the scholarship system is a perennial point of friction.

Dariusz or Ellie, are there any thoughts at WMF about doing a full review of the scholarship system and the value of Wikimania to the community? With WMF spending so much money on Wikimania year after year, and volunteers spending so much time on Wikimania year after year, I think that it would make sense to do this type of review, which might be possible to synchronize with WMF's strategy process. I am very interested in ensuring that there are SMART goals being achieved with all of the money and time that goes into Wikimania. At the same time, I think that the scholarship system could be reviewed to consider the strategic priorities for scholarships and how to align those priorities to SMART goals. I don't envision reducing funding for Wikimania and scholarships, but I think that some re-thinking and evaluation would be good to align funding with the WMF strategic plan and with SMART goals.


On Thu, May 31, 2018 at 12:31 PM, Harry Mitchell <[hidden email]> wrote:
Since you raise chapter scholarships, it would be nice to see some of the other big chapters (and to some extent the WMF) spending more on scholarships for rank-and-file Wikimedians rather than staff and board members. That might help with the perception that Wikimania is the same old faces year in, year out. 

Harry Mitchell
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Skype: harry_j_mitchell


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Re: Update on Wikimania '18

cs
I  have attended several  Wikimanias. 
I  would have thought  that  with  the Wikipedias being voluntary contributed and managed projects, that  the conference shoud have a sharp focus on  attendance and presentations by  the communities.
However, this is not  the case. Presentation  time is, IMO, excessively  allocated to  various  speakers from the salaried staff.
This has been brought  up  on several  occasions.
In some instances, some presentations have had almost  duplicate  content.
Many  Foundations take on  a promotional aspect  of the WMF’s work.
The credit  for  the entire movement  should go  to  the community volunteers.

Kudpung

On 01, Jun2018, at 08:31, Pine W <[hidden email]> wrote:

Harry, I recall hearing that there was a push a year or two back to alter the proportion of presentations at Wikimania so that there were fewer WMF presentations and more community presentations. I don't know if that was a one time event or if that's ongoing. I have never been to Wikimania, and have no plans to go in the foreseeable future, but I watch what happens with Wikimania partly because it's an expensive operation in terms of financial cost and in terms of volunteer time. Also, the scholarship system is a perennial point of friction.

Dariusz or Ellie, are there any thoughts at WMF about doing a full review of the scholarship system and the value of Wikimania to the community? With WMF spending so much money on Wikimania year after year, and volunteers spending so much time on Wikimania year after year, I think that it would make sense to do this type of review, which might be possible to synchronize with WMF's strategy process. I am very interested in ensuring that there are SMART goals being achieved with all of the money and time that goes into Wikimania. At the same time, I think that the scholarship system could be reviewed to consider the strategic priorities for scholarships and how to align those priorities to SMART goals. I don't envision reducing funding for Wikimania and scholarships, but I think that some re-thinking and evaluation would be good to align funding with the WMF strategic plan and with SMART goals.


On Thu, May 31, 2018 at 12:31 PM, Harry Mitchell <[hidden email]> wrote:
Since you raise chapter scholarships, it would be nice to see some of the other big chapters (and to some extent the WMF) spending more on scholarships for rank-and-file Wikimedians rather than staff and board members. That might help with the perception that Wikimania is the same old faces year in, year out. 

Harry Mitchell
+44 (0) 7507 536 971
Skype: harry_j_mitchell

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Re: Update on Wikimania '18

Luca Martinelli
In reply to this post by Harry Mitchell
2018-05-31 21:31 GMT+02:00 Harry Mitchell <[hidden email]>:
> Since you raise chapter scholarships, it would be nice to see some of the
> other big chapters (and to some extent the WMF) spending more on
> scholarships for rank-and-file Wikimedians rather than staff and board
> members. That might help with the perception that Wikimania is the same old
> faces year in, year out.

Former WM-IT Board member here. Actually, Wikimedia Italia does host a
scholarship programme since 2011, open to both WM-IT associates and
Italian wikimedians. Depending on the destination, we always granted
every year 6 to 8 scholarships (plus up to 2 places for Board members,
and depending on staff availability, up to 2 places for them). In
2016, we actually handed out 10 full scholarships and 10 partial
scholarships ('cause travel expenses were more easy to cover).

From my experience, it's difficult to fill up the ranks sometimes with
new people. Our internal rules actually give preference to people who
never attended Wikimania, as well as to women - still, we were
"forced" to award scholarships to the same people sometimes, because
we were lacking other eligible people. In particular, most of the most
active Italian wikipedians DO NOT apply for a WM-IT scholarship (or
WMF, AFAIK).

This is yet another variable we're not considering enough, I think: if
new people do not apply, it's harder to award them a scholarship.

L.

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Re: Update on Wikimania '18

praveenp
In reply to this post by Vira Motorko

Applicants tend to forget that same people are likely to be selected if same people are applying.
I don't remember how many times I applied for scholarship, but I am sure that I applied regularly since users started seriously doubting scholarship granting process. In the year 2015 (I think) some users thought, we were needed a more serious approach for scholarship application and started helping each other. I received a compiled file with answers specifically for me for scholarship form, in-case I would apply. I've used those answers as a template for my application since 2015, without much tweaking, because it was better.

In 2015, I passed to Phase 2. Once the scholarship receiver's list was published, I shared some doubts in Wikimania mailing list.

In 2016, failed in Phase 1, totally against  phase 1 criteria. My queries to find whether that happened as a repercussion for questioning the process in 2015 in public mailing list didn't get any answers.

In 2017, Passed to Phase2.

This year I didn;t apply for the scholarship. Partially because I was immediately not able to find my template file, and partially because there was no reason to spent some 30 minutes or more for just substantiate an already proven point (atleast to us).

This year, I didn't participated any related discussion. I don't know how many were applied, but it is safe to assume there were more users applied.

Again I am using my username as an example. I am not in search of scholarship. Even in local meet-ups, I attended only once (more than 10 years ago).

~user:Praveenp



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Re: Update on Wikimania '18

Mardetanha-2

I would like to have some comments on the issue, first going to wikimania is not of reward system for editing ( though to some extent it motivates a lot of people)

Second, though many people get repeated scholarship, scholarships committees are being changed almost every year, if different people are choosing same people every year this definitely means these people are offering a lot, way beyond editing wiki project. 

In many countries we have core people are doing the chore and uphill battle, these are people mostly getting repeated scholarships, I suggest anyone who objects these issue to serve scholarships committee and pretty you will be shocked to see you also chose very same people.


Every year we see new faces, i do trust the process. 


Mardetanha 


On Fri, Jun 1, 2018 at 3:50 PM praveenp <[hidden email]> wrote:

Applicants tend to forget that same people are likely to be selected if same people are applying.
I don't remember how many times I applied for scholarship, but I am sure that I applied regularly since users started seriously doubting scholarship granting process. In the year 2015 (I think) some users thought, we were needed a more serious approach for scholarship application and started helping each other. I received a compiled file with answers specifically for me for scholarship form, in-case I would apply. I've used those answers as a template for my application since 2015, without much tweaking, because it was better.

In 2015, I passed to Phase 2. Once the scholarship receiver's list was published, I shared some doubts in Wikimania mailing list.

In 2016, failed in Phase 1, totally against  phase 1 criteria. My queries to find whether that happened as a repercussion for questioning the process in 2015 in public mailing list didn't get any answers.

In 2017, Passed to Phase2.

This year I didn;t apply for the scholarship. Partially because I was immediately not able to find my template file, and partially because there was no reason to spent some 30 minutes or more for just substantiate an already proven point (atleast to us).

This year, I didn't participated any related discussion. I don't know how many were applied, but it is safe to assume there were more users applied.

Again I am using my username as an example. I am not in search of scholarship. Even in local meet-ups, I attended only once (more than 10 years ago).

~user:Praveenp


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Re: Update on Wikimania '18

Mykola Kozlenko
In reply to this post by Luca Martinelli
Hi,

WMUA board member here. We usually award three scholarships per year, we run the program since 2016.

Out of 9 people having received a scholarship, we had 1 board member and 0 staff members. We do not have any priority to board members, they have to apply in the same way as others. At least one applicant each year attended Wikimania for the first time.

I am not sure if this is a perfect solution but it is feasible. The fact that all our board members are active Wikimedians themselves probably helps to make it feasible.

Best regards
Mykola (NickK)
Wikimedia Ukraine

--- Оригінальне повідомлення ---
Від кого: "Luca Martinelli" <[hidden email]>
Дата: 1 червня 2018, 15:30:10

2018-05-31 21:31 GMT+02:00 Harry Mitchell <[hidden email]>:
> Since you raise chapter scholarships, it would be nice to see some of the
> other big chapters (and to some extent the WMF) spending more on
> scholarships for rank-and-file Wikimedians rather than staff and board
> members. That might help with the perception that Wikimania is the same old
> faces year in, year out.

Former WM-IT Board member here. Actually, Wikimedia Italia does host a
scholarship programme since 2011, open to both WM-IT associates and
Italian wikimedians. Depending on the destination, we always granted
every year 6 to 8 scholarships (plus up to 2 places for Board members,
and depending on staff availability, up to 2 places for them). In
2016, we actually handed out 10 full scholarships and 10 partial
scholarships ('cause travel expenses were more easy to cover).

From my experience, it's difficult to fill up the ranks sometimes with
new people. Our internal rules actually give preference to people who
never attended Wikimania, as well as to women - still, we were
"forced" to award scholarships to the same people sometimes, because
we were lacking other eligible people. In particular, most of the most
active Italian wikipedians DO NOT apply for a WM-IT scholarship (or
WMF, AFAIK).

This is yet another variable we're not considering enough, I think: if
new people do not apply, it's harder to award them a scholarship.

L.

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Re: Update on Wikimania '18

Nathan Awrich
The complaints in this thread have been reported in the Signpost, although without any of the countering comments. In what I imagine is an oversight, the co-author of the report in the Signpost (Kudpung) did not mention that he raised many of the complaints here himself.


~Nathan


On Fri, Jun 1, 2018 at 6:25 PM Mykola Kozlenko <[hidden email]> wrote:
Hi,

WMUA board member here. We usually award three scholarships per year, we run the program since 2016.

Out of 9 people having received a scholarship, we had 1 board member and 0 staff members. We do not have any priority to board members, they have to apply in the same way as others. At least one applicant each year attended Wikimania for the first time.

I am not sure if this is a perfect solution but it is feasible. The fact that all our board members are active Wikimedians themselves probably helps to make it feasible.

Best regards
Mykola (NickK)
Wikimedia Ukraine

--- Оригінальне повідомлення ---
Від кого: "Luca Martinelli" <[hidden email]>
Дата: 1 червня 2018, 15:30:10

2018-05-31 21:31 GMT+02:00 Harry Mitchell <[hidden email]>:
> Since you raise chapter scholarships, it would be nice to see some of the
> other big chapters (and to some extent the WMF) spending more on
> scholarships for rank-and-file Wikimedians rather than staff and board
> members. That might help with the perception that Wikimania is the same old
> faces year in, year out.

Former WM-IT Board member here. Actually, Wikimedia Italia does host a
scholarship programme since 2011, open to both WM-IT associates and
Italian wikimedians. Depending on the destination, we always granted
every year 6 to 8 scholarships (plus up to 2 places for Board members,
and depending on staff availability, up to 2 places for them). In
2016, we actually handed out 10 full scholarships and 10 partial
scholarships ('cause travel expenses were more easy to cover).

From my experience, it's difficult to fill up the ranks sometimes with
new people. Our internal rules actually give preference to people who
never attended Wikimania, as well as to women - still, we were
"forced" to award scholarships to the same people sometimes, because
we were lacking other eligible people. In particular, most of the most
active Italian wikipedians DO NOT apply for a WM-IT scholarship (or
WMF, AFAIK).

This is yet another variable we're not considering enough, I think: if
new people do not apply, it's harder to award them a scholarship.

L.

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Re: Update on Wikimania '18

cs
No  oversight, Nathan, and please don’t  exaggerate. FWIW there is already  an in-depth article in  progress about  Wikimania that  was begun  before that  very  short  ‘In  the news’ mention. It’s being written by another editor who  first mentioned the mailing  list and will  be published in  this month’s issue. Please remember that  this is an open mailing list  an any one is free to  report  on it  or mention it  anywhere whatever the scope. The newsroom  discussions for  The Signpost are equally  transparent.

Thatr  said, yes, I am indeed highly  critical of some aspects of the organisation  of each  year’s conference.

Kudpung

On 03, Jul2018, at 05:40, Nathan <[hidden email]> wrote:

The complaints in this thread have been reported in the Signpost, although without any of the countering comments. In what I imagine is an oversight, the co-author of the report in the Signpost (Kudpung) did not mention that he raised many of the complaints here himself.


~Nathan


On Fri, Jun 1, 2018 at 6:25 PM Mykola Kozlenko <[hidden email]> wrote:
Hi,

WMUA board member here. We usually award three scholarships per year, we run the program since 2016.

Out of 9 people having received a scholarship, we had 1 board member and 0 staff members. We do not have any priority to board members, they have to apply in the same way as others. At least one applicant each year attended Wikimania for the first time.

I am not sure if this is a perfect solution but it is feasible. The fact that all our board members are active Wikimedians themselves probably helps to make it feasible.

Best regards
Mykola (NickK)
Wikimedia Ukraine

--- Оригінальне повідомлення ---
Від кого: "Luca Martinelli" <[hidden email]>
Дата: 1 червня 2018, 15:30:10

2018-05-31 21:31 GMT+02:00 Harry Mitchell <[hidden email]>:
> Since you raise chapter scholarships, it would be nice to see some of the
> other big chapters (and to some extent the WMF) spending more on
> scholarships for rank-and-file Wikimedians rather than staff and board
> members. That might help with the perception that Wikimania is the same old
> faces year in, year out.

Former WM-IT Board member here. Actually, Wikimedia Italia does host a
scholarship programme since 2011, open to both WM-IT associates and
Italian wikimedians. Depending on the destination, we always granted
every year 6 to 8 scholarships (plus up to 2 places for Board members,
and depending on staff availability, up to 2 places for them). In
2016, we actually handed out 10 full scholarships and 10 partial
scholarships ('cause travel expenses were more easy to cover).

From my experience, it's difficult to fill up the ranks sometimes with
new people. Our internal rules actually give preference to people who
never attended Wikimania, as well as to women - still, we were
"forced" to award scholarships to the same people sometimes, because
we were lacking other eligible people. In particular, most of the most
active Italian wikipedians DO NOT apply for a WM-IT scholarship (or
WMF, AFAIK).

This is yet another variable we're not considering enough, I think: if
new people do not apply, it's harder to award them a scholarship.

L.

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Re: Update on Wikimania '18

C. Scott Ananian
In reply to this post by Pine W
On Thu, May 31, 2018 at 9:31 PM, Pine W <[hidden email]> wrote:
Harry, I recall hearing that there was a push a year or two back to alter the proportion of presentations at Wikimania so that there were fewer WMF presentations and more community presentations. I don't know if that was a one time event or if that's ongoing.

As a WMF presenter, I'd like to respond briefly.  First: the WMF has an internal budget as well, and its decisions about who goes/does not go to Wikimania have their own troubles/nuances/benefits, etc.

In my own opinion, the WMF is employed to do development work for the community.  I feel that tipping the balance too much toward either WMF or community presentations do both a disservice.  If Wikimania were to be only community presentations, surely the complaint would arise that WMF was absent, does not know about all the good work the community is doing, isn't adequately supporting them with its work, etc, and conversely WMF employees would feel the community is left ignorant of the tools they are building on the communities' behalf.  And obviously if Wikimania were only WMF presentations those employed to serve the community would be doing all our time talking when we should be listening!  A balance is needed (and we can have a great debate on what the right balance should be; I didn't hear any complaints from participants about the balance at Esino Lario, for example).

Wikimania is a great opportunity for communication between different facets of our movement, both planned and unplanned.  My own experience from leading problem-solving teams in various capacities is that the unplanned interactions are actually the most important.  Generally, if you *know already* that X is working on Y which is of interest to you, then you can with more-or-less difficulty find X to exchange ideas about Y.  But how do you find people when you have no idea who they are or that they are working on something of interest!  That's the opportunity you get by gathering all sorts of different Wikimedians in one place, and having them eat and socialize together.

As such, my personal opinion is that purely "merit-based" participant selection --- both of community members and internally at WMF (usually based on having an accepted presentation) --- runs the danger of not including enough folks who are there (a) to listen, not talk, (b) who would be inspired by things they did not expect and could not have predicted on an application.

If I were to make this a concrete suggestion, I'd suggest including some number of "perfectly fair" random scholarships/participant selections, so that even non-presenting WMF employees and first-time community representatives get a chance to listen to each other, learn unexpected things, and be inspired.
  --scott

ps. Having a "report back" expectation also seems fine and useful.


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Re: Update on Wikimania '18

cs
I mentioned about  Esino  Lario  being  top  heavy  on  WMF presentations. Not  everyone is likely  to  write  in  and make formal  complaints on  the lines they  discussed personally  with  each  other during  the Wikimania conferences.
Furthermore, the configuration  and timing of the many  locations in  Esino  Lario for  the presentations, meetings, and socialising (a very  important aspect), was not  conducive to  much  interaction.I  assume this has been addressed in  the selection  of venues for later conferences.
The ’talking' is as important  as the  ‘listening’ - after all, the private and periferal  discussions are all about  Wikipedia/Wikimedia and are actually  what  in  my  opinion gets most  achieved. 
It  is disappointing  when meeting  WMF employees during  breaks and socialising  opportunities to  be simply  told ‘Come to  my  presentation’, or ‘leave a message on  my  talk  page'

Nobody is suggesting  that  scholarships should be accorded on  a ‘merit’ basis -  as far as I  understand, the allocation of scholarships is not an ‘award' system.
Nobody  is suggesting  that  Wikimania 'were to be only community presentations.’
Nobody  is suggesting  that  Wikimania scholarships should only  be accorded to  those wishing  to  make presentations. I  have suggested however,  that  there should be  coordination between the scholarship and the program selection systems.

I  have only  attended four  Wikimanias, which  were all  very  different, but  I  belive my  own observations  and  impressions are not  without  merit.  Not  everybody  is inclined to  post  to this mailiing  list.

Kudpung
On 06, Jul2018, at 01:45, C. Scott Ananian <[hidden email]> wrote:

On Thu, May 31, 2018 at 9:31 PM, Pine W <[hidden email]> wrote:
Harry, I recall hearing that there was a push a year or two back to alter the proportion of presentations at Wikimania so that there were fewer WMF presentations and more community presentations. I don't know if that was a one time event or if that's ongoing.

As a WMF presenter, I'd like to respond briefly.  First: the WMF has an internal budget as well, and its decisions about who goes/does not go to Wikimania have their own troubles/nuances/benefits, etc.

In my own opinion, the WMF is employed to do development work for the community.  I feel that tipping the balance too much toward either WMF or community presentations do both a disservice.  If Wikimania were to be only community presentations, surely the complaint would arise that WMF was absent, does not know about all the good work the community is doing, isn't adequately supporting them with its work, etc, and conversely WMF employees would feel the community is left ignorant of the tools they are building on the communities' behalf.  And obviously if Wikimania were only WMF presentations those employed to serve the community would be doing all our time talking when we should be listening!  A balance is needed (and we can have a great debate on what the right balance should be; I didn't hear any complaints from participants about the balance at Esino Lario, for example).

Wikimania is a great opportunity for communication between different facets of our movement, both planned and unplanned.  My own experience from leading problem-solving teams in various capacities is that the unplanned interactions are actually the most important.  Generally, if you *know already* that X is working on Y which is of interest to you, then you can with more-or-less difficulty find X to exchange ideas about Y.  But how do you find people when you have no idea who they are or that they are working on something of interest!  That's the opportunity you get by gathering all sorts of different Wikimedians in one place, and having them eat and socialize together.

As such, my personal opinion is that purely "merit-based" participant selection --- both of community members and internally at WMF (usually based on having an accepted presentation) --- runs the danger of not including enough folks who are there (a) to listen, not talk, (b) who would be inspired by things they did not expect and could not have predicted on an application.

If I were to make this a concrete suggestion, I'd suggest including some number of "perfectly fair" random scholarships/participant selections, so that even non-presenting WMF employees and first-time community representatives get a chance to listen to each other, learn unexpected things, and be inspired.
  --scott

ps. Having a "report back" expectation also seems fine and useful.

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