With the pre-conference kickoff of Wikimania 2018 only seven days to go now things are getting even more busy now than ever. This will likely be my last email update on how preparations are going for Wikimania.
Firstly I would like to encourage you to join our Telegram group. You can join the official Telegram group for Wikimania 2018 here: https://t.me/wikimania_2018
It is a good place to ask questions, get general information, and talk about Wikimania related stuff. I am pretty active on it so please feel free to ask me any questions there. We currently have 108 members on the Telegram group.
I am happy to say that we have over 550 people registered for Wikimania 2018 so far which is pretty much exactly the number we were aiming for at this stage and is on track to meeting our 650 total registration goal for the conference.
There was some confusion caused by my last message on meetup locations for Wikimania. I meant to clarify that people can still get rooms to host your meetup on the Wikimania page here. If there are no more rooms aviable or you are looking for a more open space then you can use any of the surround restaurants. There are over 40 within walking distance of the venue location and I have even drawn up a map of some of them on the Orientation page on the Wikimania wiki.
Raymond and Erin have been working hard on getting everything ready for the volunteers. We will have our volunteer training session next week Monday where we will welcome the volunteers, conduct training exercises and allocate roles. Raymond will send out more details on that to our volunteers soon. As I mentioned in my last email we got an outstanding response from people wishing to be volunteers which has given us a real challenge of choosing from so many very strong volunteer applicants.
You might have noticed that the website is being continuously expanded and updated. This will continue to happen until the day of the conference. Please continue to check up on the Wikimania Wiki website for updates and changes. I would like to thank Liam for playing a large and important role in tirelessly updating and maintaining the program. I think it is looking very good.
I am currently working finalising the details of the plenary speaking events. Most notably the opening and closing plenaries. Just a few last details to wrap up. I have a few small surprises for the opening plenary which I will not share here (or else it would not be a surprise) but needless to say I am excited about them.
The water situation in Cape Town is now looking very good. With good rains so far this year (and some more rain still expected) the water supply situation has improved greatly. People are still encouraged to save water but I can say with 100% confidence that the water situation will in no way impact Wikimania. I have checked the weather report and it looks unlikely we will get much rain during the conference. However I still suggest that you bring a rain jacket, especially if you plan to stay on in Cape Town after the conference. :-)
The official Wikimania edit-a-thon has been organised for Thursday the 19th July and will take place at the Cape Town Tourism Offices across the road from the Southern Sun Hotel where Wikimania is happening. On that note I would also like to share with you this message from Cape Town Tourism on the water situation in Cape Town: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OfS063Fbflk
All welcoming and closing parties have been organised. You can find out more about them here.
The Cape Town Central City Improvement Distract (CCID) has been informed of Wikimania and has assured me that they will ensure that extra public safety officers will be deployed in the outside area around the conference venue and along Stand Street that runs between the Southern Sun Hotel (Wikimania venue) and the CapeSun Hotel (where a lot of people are staying) so as to better ensure public safety. The City Centre of Cape Town is a safe place, I have lived here for many years and walk around at night often and never had any problems. There is still a risk of crime just as there is in any major city but we are working to try and minimise that as much as we can. Please use your discretion and common sense when outside of the hotel area at night and do not leave valuables such as laptops unattended to.
==Publicity and outreach==
Publicity and local outreach remains a focus of mine. I have more radio interviews to do this week all in preparation for the big event next week. It is important to us that we increase people's awareness of both Wikimania and the fact that Wikipedia is open for anyone to edit so as to encourage more South Africans (and hopefully people in Africa generally) to edit Wikipedia.
A number of people are organising post conference tourist trips. You can see more about that here. I am thinking of leading either a hiking trip or a trip to see the penguins on Monday the 23rd July but I am not sure.
I am looking forward to hosting you all in Cape Town this year and making this a fun, interesting and impactful Wikimania. We have been planning on hosting this event ever since our first bid in 2008 so we are enormously excited about next week.
Douglas Ian Scott
South African mobile number: +27 (0)79 515 8727
Wikimania-l mailing list
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