Wikimania - annually, with South Africa in 2018?

classic Classic list List threaded Threaded
82 messages Options
12345
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Wikimania - annually, with South Africa in 2018?

Andrew Lih-2
Attendee safety has always been, and will continue to be, a serious consideration. 

I will note that Wikimania has been held in Mexico, Egypt and Israel with similar concerns for those locations. Those places all show up in the Global Peace Index list of most dangerous countries, and we found ways to hold successful conferences there. There is no guarantee that a South Africa location would be without issues, but it does show that we are not in unfamiliar territory when considering these types of risks.

Thanks.
-Andrew




-Andrew Lih
Associate professor of journalism, American University
Email: [hidden email]
WEB: http://www.andrewlih.com
BOOK: The Wikipedia Revolution: http://www.wikipediarevolution.com
PROJECT: Wiki Makes Video http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:WikiProject_Wiki_Makes_Video

On Sat, Jul 9, 2016 at 5:21 AM, Harry Mitchell <[hidden email]> wrote:
I find the idea of holding Wikimania in sub-Saharan Africa quite exciting. It would potentially be a very different sort of event, and it would have the chance to leave a lasting legacy. Speaking of South Africa, though, is it unfair of me to say to that the country has a reputation for lawlessness and violent crime? Is this something the powers that be will take into consideration? 

Harry Mitchell
<a href="tel:%2B44%20%280%29%207507%20536%20971" value="+447507536971" target="_blank">+44 (0) 7507 536 971
Skype: harry_j_mitchell

On Sat, Jul 9, 2016 at 12:05 AM, Florence Devouard <[hidden email]> wrote:
Oh. Good point !

The term "interest" referred to Wikimedia South Africa, which expressed interest into etc.

During Wikimania, various groups were approached by us (by Ellie). And other groups approached us. To express their interest in holding Wikimania in the future.

For example, on Sunday evening, at Pizzeria 51, a few minutes before the sky decided to fall on our heads, I was told Bangkok was interested for 2020 !

Florence



Le 08/07/16 à 21:50, Lodewijk a écrit :
Thanks for the clarification, Florence. If I may ask another: the
'interest' expressed, does that refer to interest expressed by
South-African Wikimedians, or by the Committee?

Best,
Lodewijk

2016-07-08 21:38 GMT+02:00 Florence Devouard <[hidden email]
<mailto:[hidden email]>>:

    Le 08/07/16 à 16:01, Chris Keating a écrit :

        Hoi,

        I was interested to read the minutes of the most recent Wikimania
        Committee meeting, which decided that Wikimania will be held
        annually
        from now on, and that it will be in sub-Saharan Africa (effectively
        meaning South Africa) in 2018.


    Pointing out that the minutes do not say that it will be in
    sub-Saharan Africa. It says

    "The CfP should identify the priority given for that year to
    Sub-Saharan Africa, noting that there is expressed interest in
    hosting in the Republic of South Africa. "

    The difference is subtle, but there is a difference.
    The committee actually drafted an official announcement, which was
    supposed to be published quickly after the committee minutes.
    But we have been asked to refrain from publishing our announcement
    until after the WMF has been consulted on the matter.

    I am happy to disclose the sentence currently drafted for our (not
    yet published) announcement, which is

    "Considering this, the Committee has a mild preference for
    Sub-Saharan Africa for 2018, but is of course willing to look at
    proposals for hosting Wikimania 2018 in other locations. "


    Florence



        https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimania_Committee/Minutes/2016-06-26

        Interestingly, I couldn't see any sign of the Committee's
        decision being
        informed by the WMF's consultation on the future of Wikimania,
        or anyone
        from the WMF's community engagement department being present.

        I have to say I'm a bit confused, not least about who actually
        makes the
        decision about how frequently Wikimania happens. Is anyone able
        to shed
        any more light on this?

        Thanks,

        Chris


        _______________________________________________
        Wikimania-l mailing list
        [hidden email]
        <mailto:[hidden email]>
        https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l




    _______________________________________________
    Wikimania-l mailing list
    [hidden email] <mailto:[hidden email]>
    https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l




_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l




_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l


_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l



_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Wikimania - annually, with South Africa in 2018?

Andrew Lih-2
In reply to this post by Harry Mitchell
Harry,

Since Wikimania-L is relatively low traffic, I believe it’s entirely on-topic to discuss the support of Wikimania by chapters as long as it doesn’t get too long winded. Plus, doesn’t Wikimedia-L get enough conflict as it is? :)

Thanks.

-Andrew


-Andrew Lih
Associate professor of journalism, American University
Email: [hidden email]
WEB: http://www.andrewlih.com
BOOK: The Wikipedia Revolution: http://www.wikipediarevolution.com
PROJECT: Wiki Makes Video http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:WikiProject_Wiki_Makes_Video

On Sat, Jul 9, 2016 at 4:25 AM, Harry Mitchell <[hidden email]> wrote:
Can we argue about who signed what on Wikimedia-l or some other forum please? We get bogged down in enough silly arguments about Wikimania on this list, never mind silly arguments about governance of participants in silly arguments.

Harry Mitchell
<a href="tel:%2B44%20%280%29%207507%20536%20971" value="+447507536971" target="_blank">+44 (0) 7507 536 971
Skype: harry_j_mitchell

On Sat, Jul 9, 2016 at 4:33 AM, Pine W <[hidden email]> wrote:

Thank you. I find it confusing that the letter starts with "The chairpersons of the Wikimedia chapters state that Wikimania needs to be arranged every year," which implies that all of the chapter chairs are united in agreement, but it appears several chapters didn't sign the letter. Looking further at the content of the letter, I would have some questions about some of the statements that were made there. In the future, I would encourage chapter chairs to have discussions about matters such as this on the Affiliates mailing list so that we can have more inclusive discussions among more affiliates before sending letters like that. The Wikimania situation is already convoluted, and I believe that letters such as this should get fuller discussion among affiliates before they are sent to WMF.

Thanks,

Pine

On Jul 8, 2016 20:04, "Christophe Henner" <[hidden email]> wrote:

My bad I forgot it already is on meta https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia_chapters/Statements/Chapter_chairs_statement:_Wikimania_needs_to_be_arranged_every_year

Le 9 juil. 2016 4:50 AM, "Pine W" <[hidden email]> a écrit :

Thanks Christophe. I, for one, have had difficulty figuring out what is going on with Wikimania in regards to varying decisions in different parts of WMF and the community, so I look forward to the clarifications.

Personally I am currently neutral on the decision of whether to have annual Wikimanias, or alternate Wikimanias with years in which there is emphasis on national or regional conferences. My hunch is that some research about costs and benefits is needed so that we have reliable data about a variety of scenarios before making a decision.

Thanks again for working on this.

To the board chairs: I would be interested in seeing that letter. In the spirit of transparency, would you please publish it on Meta? As you know I am an advocate for much more transparency from WMF, and I would like for the affiliates to also to be transparent about governance matters such as this one.

Thanks,

Pine

On Jul 8, 2016 19:18, "Christophe Henner" <[hidden email]> wrote:

Hi everyone,

The same question was raised to the board a few days ago by chairs of Wikimedia organizations asking Foundation's board to make sure there's a comprehensive decision on this very topic. 

The chairs letter wasn't public, I let them share it on meta or here if they want to :)

First step, in my opinion, is to set expectations and define the scope (in the role of the event but also in the ressources (both human and financial) we commit to the event. 

Katherine is working with the staff to provide groundings.

Here is the answer I provided them with. 

----

Hi chairs!

First of all, thank you with the email, the feedback is clearly useful and raises interesting point. 

Now, the Wikimania discussion definitly is on the table. Living by what we said during Wikimania, we, as WMF, will make sure we end up with a clear answer to your questions but also to the different points you raise. 

Wikimania is an important time in our movement, but as you said it also comes with costs and challenges that we have to adress. Katherine is going to meet in the coming days with the staff in charge of that topic to start that discussion within WMF and provide groundings for a comprehensive decision. 

We will try to be as diligent as possible on that topic, but I would ask you to keep in mind that as we're in a transition phase and that might take a little more time than you could expect. 

Again thank you for your email, I love the fact that he raises issues but also includes the challenges we have to take care of :)

We'll get back to you as soon as possible to continue that discussion.

Have all a really great day / night :)

Christophe

While I concur with Coren’s conclusion, I’ll try to neutrally report on the events at Wikimania which led to this result. :)

Full disclosure: I’m a fan of Wikimania being yearly, and was asked to serve on the Wikimania Committee after Esino Lario. I was also the main moderator of the Wikimania 2016 session on the “Future of Wikimania.” These views are my own, and not anything official from the committee.

Background: Many folks (I’d say a majority) who I talked to in Esino Lario early in the conference thought that the decision to do Wikimania every other year was a done deal, as a result of the IdeaLab consultation. I told them that might not necessarily be so. The vote was close, not particularly widely known, and we could still be heard. Chris Schilling from the WMF, who oversaw the Idealab consultation, sought me out specifically at the start of the conference and to my delight, said that the consultation was “just another data point,” and that it was by no means the final word on things. Obviously, this was good news to people who were interested in keeping a yearly Wikimania.

I was scheduled to moderate the “Future of Wikimania” discussion session [1] at the very end of the conference, and encouraged people to let their views be heard. It was under these conditions that we entered into the final discussion room and I asked Chris Schilling to give an opening statement to the room. Most people were happy to hear him say that it was “just another data point.” During the discussion, there was overwhelming support to keep Wikimania going every year, which is not a surprise considering this was *at* Wikimania. I encourage folks to peruse the Etherpad notes, which are quite extensive and expertly done by several folks there.

Some views I’d highlight:
- Having yearly Wikimania is important to keep the momentum of the movement going, according to many
- A case for cancelling yearly Wikimania was to encourage/fund regional meetups. However, there is no guarantee that those regional meetups would actually take place, or that WMF would necessarily take the money saved from Wikimania to fund them. Some folks from Asia specifically said that there is weaker linguistic, cultural and geographic synergy for an “Asian” conference like there is in Europe and Africa, which is why it has been hard to do one.
- One person noted that one trip to Wikimania served the same role as several international trips to get the same benefit from meeting other Wikimedians/developers, so there are indeed cost efficiencies in having a central conference.


-Andrew Lih
Associate professor of journalism, American University
Email: [hidden email]
WEB: http://www.andrewlih.com
BOOK: The Wikipedia Revolution: http://www.wikipediarevolution.com
PROJECT: Wiki Makes Video http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:WikiProject_Wiki_Makes_Video

On Fri, Jul 8, 2016 at 10:18 AM, Marc-Andre <[hidden email]> wrote:
On 2016-07-08 10:01 AM, Chris Keating wrote:
Interestingly, I couldn't see any sign of the Committee's decision being informed by the WMF's consultation on the future of Wikimania, or anyone from the WMF's community engagement department being present.

Wikimania is, and always was, a community led and organized event. The WMF, as its traditional biggest sponsor[1], has a great deal of influence in the matter - but ultimately no decision power beyond "fund and resource or not".

The committee's decision has indeed taken into account the consultation you refer to - as well as the roundtable discussion on the "Future of Wikimania" that took place earlier[2].  Our evaluation, which is reflected in that resolution, is that the consultation was clearly flawed and that its conclusion does not reflect consensus - neither of the community members who organize nor of those who attend Wikimania.

-- Coren / Marc

[1] Although "underwrite" might be a better term - the WMF has pretty much shouldered the vast majority of the costs and given the most logistical support year in and year out.

[2] Where the consensus was to overwhelmingly reject that consultation's conclusion in favor or continuing with Wikimania as a yearly even given its irreplaceable role in our movement.

_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l


_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l


_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l


_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l


_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l


_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l



_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l



_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Wikimania - annually, with South Africa in 2018?

Chris Keating-2
In reply to this post by Chris Keating-2
So, to summarise the discussion (from Wikimania-l)

* The WMF is still coming to a view on whether it supports a 2018 Wikimania, but the issue is being considered by the Board and the ED. The WMF don't consider the results of their consultation on the matter as conclusive
* The Wikimania Committee have an ambition/intention to hold a 2018 Wikimania, but don't feel this is based solely on the sample of people who showed up to the future of Wikimania session at Wikimania
* A number of chapters have expressed support for Wikimania remaining an annual event, though also thinking that the programme design process needs to be improved
* There is in fact some dialogue between the Wikimania Committe, the WMF board, WMF staff, and the chapters

Have I got that right?

Thanks,

Chris

On Fri, Jul 8, 2016 at 3:01 PM, Chris Keating <[hidden email]> wrote:
Hoi,

I was interested to read the minutes of the most recent Wikimania Committee meeting, which decided that Wikimania will be held annually from now on, and that it will be in sub-Saharan Africa (effectively meaning South Africa) in 2018.

https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimania_Committee/Minutes/2016-06-26

Interestingly, I couldn't see any sign of the Committee's decision being informed by the WMF's consultation on the future of Wikimania, or anyone from the WMF's community engagement department being present. 

I have to say I'm a bit confused, not least about who actually makes the decision about how frequently Wikimania happens. Is anyone able to shed any more light on this?

Thanks,

Chris


_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Wikimania - annually, with South Africa in 2018?

Deryck Chan
In reply to this post by Pine W

I find it a bit over the top too to have such a letter, so strongly worded, and signed by so many board chairs.

It reveals a divide between those who participated in the IdeaLab survey[1] and those who were at the Future of Wikimania session in Esino.

It would perhaps be interesting to see if correlations can be revealed as to what demographic of Wikimedian prefer 1 year per Wikimania and what demographic prefer 2 year per Wikimania - like geographical distribution, involvement in local Wikimedia groups (staff / board / other volunteer / not a participant), and past attendance at regional Wikimedia conferences and Wikimania.

[1] https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Grants:IdeaLab/Towards_a_New_Wikimania/Outcomes

Thank you. I find it confusing that the letter starts with "The chairpersons of the Wikimedia chapters state that Wikimania needs to be arranged every year," which implies that all of the chapter chairs are united in agreement, but it appears several chapters didn't sign the letter. Looking further at the content of the letter, I would have some questions about some of the statements that were made there. In the future, I would encourage chapter chairs to have discussions about matters such as this on the Affiliates mailing list so that we can have more inclusive discussions among more affiliates before sending letters like that. The Wikimania situation is already convoluted, and I believe that letters such as this should get fuller discussion among affiliates before they are sent to WMF.

Thanks,

Pine

On Jul 8, 2016 20:04, "Christophe Henner" <[hidden email]> wrote:

My bad I forgot it already is on meta https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia_chapters/Statements/Chapter_chairs_statement:_Wikimania_needs_to_be_arranged_every_year

Le 9 juil. 2016 4:50 AM, "Pine W" <[hidden email]> a écrit :

Thanks Christophe. I, for one, have had difficulty figuring out what is going on with Wikimania in regards to varying decisions in different parts of WMF and the community, so I look forward to the clarifications.

Personally I am currently neutral on the decision of whether to have annual Wikimanias, or alternate Wikimanias with years in which there is emphasis on national or regional conferences. My hunch is that some research about costs and benefits is needed so that we have reliable data about a variety of scenarios before making a decision.

Thanks again for working on this.

To the board chairs: I would be interested in seeing that letter. In the spirit of transparency, would you please publish it on Meta? As you know I am an advocate for much more transparency from WMF, and I would like for the affiliates to also to be transparent about governance matters such as this one.

Thanks,

Pine

On Jul 8, 2016 19:18, "Christophe Henner" <[hidden email]> wrote:

Hi everyone,

The same question was raised to the board a few days ago by chairs of Wikimedia organizations asking Foundation's board to make sure there's a comprehensive decision on this very topic. 

The chairs letter wasn't public, I let them share it on meta or here if they want to :)

First step, in my opinion, is to set expectations and define the scope (in the role of the event but also in the ressources (both human and financial) we commit to the event. 

Katherine is working with the staff to provide groundings.

Here is the answer I provided them with. 

----

Hi chairs!

First of all, thank you with the email, the feedback is clearly useful and raises interesting point. 

Now, the Wikimania discussion definitly is on the table. Living by what we said during Wikimania, we, as WMF, will make sure we end up with a clear answer to your questions but also to the different points you raise. 

Wikimania is an important time in our movement, but as you said it also comes with costs and challenges that we have to adress. Katherine is going to meet in the coming days with the staff in charge of that topic to start that discussion within WMF and provide groundings for a comprehensive decision. 

We will try to be as diligent as possible on that topic, but I would ask you to keep in mind that as we're in a transition phase and that might take a little more time than you could expect. 

Again thank you for your email, I love the fact that he raises issues but also includes the challenges we have to take care of :)

We'll get back to you as soon as possible to continue that discussion.

Have all a really great day / night :)

Christophe

While I concur with Coren’s conclusion, I’ll try to neutrally report on the events at Wikimania which led to this result. :)

Full disclosure: I’m a fan of Wikimania being yearly, and was asked to serve on the Wikimania Committee after Esino Lario. I was also the main moderator of the Wikimania 2016 session on the “Future of Wikimania.” These views are my own, and not anything official from the committee.

Background: Many folks (I’d say a majority) who I talked to in Esino Lario early in the conference thought that the decision to do Wikimania every other year was a done deal, as a result of the IdeaLab consultation. I told them that might not necessarily be so. The vote was close, not particularly widely known, and we could still be heard. Chris Schilling from the WMF, who oversaw the Idealab consultation, sought me out specifically at the start of the conference and to my delight, said that the consultation was “just another data point,” and that it was by no means the final word on things. Obviously, this was good news to people who were interested in keeping a yearly Wikimania.

I was scheduled to moderate the “Future of Wikimania” discussion session [1] at the very end of the conference, and encouraged people to let their views be heard. It was under these conditions that we entered into the final discussion room and I asked Chris Schilling to give an opening statement to the room. Most people were happy to hear him say that it was “just another data point.” During the discussion, there was overwhelming support to keep Wikimania going every year, which is not a surprise considering this was *at* Wikimania. I encourage folks to peruse the Etherpad notes, which are quite extensive and expertly done by several folks there.

Some views I’d highlight:
- Having yearly Wikimania is important to keep the momentum of the movement going, according to many
- A case for cancelling yearly Wikimania was to encourage/fund regional meetups. However, there is no guarantee that those regional meetups would actually take place, or that WMF would necessarily take the money saved from Wikimania to fund them. Some folks from Asia specifically said that there is weaker linguistic, cultural and geographic synergy for an “Asian” conference like there is in Europe and Africa, which is why it has been hard to do one.
- One person noted that one trip to Wikimania served the same role as several international trips to get the same benefit from meeting other Wikimedians/developers, so there are indeed cost efficiencies in having a central conference.


-Andrew Lih
Associate professor of journalism, American University
Email: [hidden email]
WEB: http://www.andrewlih.com
BOOK: The Wikipedia Revolution: http://www.wikipediarevolution.com
PROJECT: Wiki Makes Video http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:WikiProject_Wiki_Makes_Video

On Fri, Jul 8, 2016 at 10:18 AM, Marc-Andre <[hidden email]> wrote:
On 2016-07-08 10:01 AM, Chris Keating wrote:
Interestingly, I couldn't see any sign of the Committee's decision being informed by the WMF's consultation on the future of Wikimania, or anyone from the WMF's community engagement department being present.

Wikimania is, and always was, a community led and organized event. The WMF, as its traditional biggest sponsor[1], has a great deal of influence in the matter - but ultimately no decision power beyond "fund and resource or not".

The committee's decision has indeed taken into account the consultation you refer to - as well as the roundtable discussion on the "Future of Wikimania" that took place earlier[2].  Our evaluation, which is reflected in that resolution, is that the consultation was clearly flawed and that its conclusion does not reflect consensus - neither of the community members who organize nor of those who attend Wikimania.

-- Coren / Marc

[1] Although "underwrite" might be a better term - the WMF has pretty much shouldered the vast majority of the costs and given the most logistical support year in and year out.

[2] Where the consensus was to overwhelmingly reject that consultation's conclusion in favor or continuing with Wikimania as a yearly even given its irreplaceable role in our movement.

_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l


_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l


_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l


_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l


_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l


_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l


_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Wikimania - annually, with South Africa in 2018?

Pine W
Agreed. I think that more data would be useful, including information such as what you highlighted here. I'd also be interested in projections of total attendance and costs (including travel costs and staff time) for Wikimania vs. having more or expanded national and regional conferences.

There's a substantial financial cost to all of this. It looks like the cost for Wikimania 2016, including scholarships, was about $500,000 excluding WMF and affiliate staff time, staff travel expenses, and expenses for those who paid their own flights. Ellie might be able to provide us with a better estimate of the total cost with those numbers included; my guess is that it was around $600,000, which is substantial. WMF might be able to hire four full-time engineers for a year for that amount. If WMF and the community are going to spend that much money every year on an annual conference, with the majority of that money coming from donors who give small-dollar amounts, I think that we need to think carefully and thoroughly about how we plan the conference (or conferences) to align with the goals of our donors and what we tell our donors. I believe that there is value in having face-to-face meetings and presentations; what isn't clear to me is whether the current Wikimania model should be continued or whether those funds would be better invested in regional and national conferences. I'm hoping that a careful analysis can be done that provides us some guidance about how to optimize our use of these financial resources.

Pine

On Sat, Jul 9, 2016 at 12:50 PM, Deryck Chan <[hidden email]> wrote:

I find it a bit over the top too to have such a letter, so strongly worded, and signed by so many board chairs.

It reveals a divide between those who participated in the IdeaLab survey[1] and those who were at the Future of Wikimania session in Esino.

It would perhaps be interesting to see if correlations can be revealed as to what demographic of Wikimedian prefer 1 year per Wikimania and what demographic prefer 2 year per Wikimania - like geographical distribution, involvement in local Wikimedia groups (staff / board / other volunteer / not a participant), and past attendance at regional Wikimedia conferences and Wikimania.

[1] https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Grants:IdeaLab/Towards_a_New_Wikimania/Outcomes

Thank you. I find it confusing that the letter starts with "The chairpersons of the Wikimedia chapters state that Wikimania needs to be arranged every year," which implies that all of the chapter chairs are united in agreement, but it appears several chapters didn't sign the letter. Looking further at the content of the letter, I would have some questions about some of the statements that were made there. In the future, I would encourage chapter chairs to have discussions about matters such as this on the Affiliates mailing list so that we can have more inclusive discussions among more affiliates before sending letters like that. The Wikimania situation is already convoluted, and I believe that letters such as this should get fuller discussion among affiliates before they are sent to WMF.

Thanks,

Pine

On Jul 8, 2016 20:04, "Christophe Henner" <[hidden email]> wrote:

My bad I forgot it already is on meta https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia_chapters/Statements/Chapter_chairs_statement:_Wikimania_needs_to_be_arranged_every_year

Le 9 juil. 2016 4:50 AM, "Pine W" <[hidden email]> a écrit :

Thanks Christophe. I, for one, have had difficulty figuring out what is going on with Wikimania in regards to varying decisions in different parts of WMF and the community, so I look forward to the clarifications.

Personally I am currently neutral on the decision of whether to have annual Wikimanias, or alternate Wikimanias with years in which there is emphasis on national or regional conferences. My hunch is that some research about costs and benefits is needed so that we have reliable data about a variety of scenarios before making a decision.

Thanks again for working on this.

To the board chairs: I would be interested in seeing that letter. In the spirit of transparency, would you please publish it on Meta? As you know I am an advocate for much more transparency from WMF, and I would like for the affiliates to also to be transparent about governance matters such as this one.

Thanks,

Pine

On Jul 8, 2016 19:18, "Christophe Henner" <[hidden email]> wrote:

Hi everyone,

The same question was raised to the board a few days ago by chairs of Wikimedia organizations asking Foundation's board to make sure there's a comprehensive decision on this very topic. 

The chairs letter wasn't public, I let them share it on meta or here if they want to :)

First step, in my opinion, is to set expectations and define the scope (in the role of the event but also in the ressources (both human and financial) we commit to the event. 

Katherine is working with the staff to provide groundings.

Here is the answer I provided them with. 

----

Hi chairs!

First of all, thank you with the email, the feedback is clearly useful and raises interesting point. 

Now, the Wikimania discussion definitly is on the table. Living by what we said during Wikimania, we, as WMF, will make sure we end up with a clear answer to your questions but also to the different points you raise. 

Wikimania is an important time in our movement, but as you said it also comes with costs and challenges that we have to adress. Katherine is going to meet in the coming days with the staff in charge of that topic to start that discussion within WMF and provide groundings for a comprehensive decision. 

We will try to be as diligent as possible on that topic, but I would ask you to keep in mind that as we're in a transition phase and that might take a little more time than you could expect. 

Again thank you for your email, I love the fact that he raises issues but also includes the challenges we have to take care of :)

We'll get back to you as soon as possible to continue that discussion.

Have all a really great day / night :)

Christophe

While I concur with Coren’s conclusion, I’ll try to neutrally report on the events at Wikimania which led to this result. :)

Full disclosure: I’m a fan of Wikimania being yearly, and was asked to serve on the Wikimania Committee after Esino Lario. I was also the main moderator of the Wikimania 2016 session on the “Future of Wikimania.” These views are my own, and not anything official from the committee.

Background: Many folks (I’d say a majority) who I talked to in Esino Lario early in the conference thought that the decision to do Wikimania every other year was a done deal, as a result of the IdeaLab consultation. I told them that might not necessarily be so. The vote was close, not particularly widely known, and we could still be heard. Chris Schilling from the WMF, who oversaw the Idealab consultation, sought me out specifically at the start of the conference and to my delight, said that the consultation was “just another data point,” and that it was by no means the final word on things. Obviously, this was good news to people who were interested in keeping a yearly Wikimania.

I was scheduled to moderate the “Future of Wikimania” discussion session [1] at the very end of the conference, and encouraged people to let their views be heard. It was under these conditions that we entered into the final discussion room and I asked Chris Schilling to give an opening statement to the room. Most people were happy to hear him say that it was “just another data point.” During the discussion, there was overwhelming support to keep Wikimania going every year, which is not a surprise considering this was *at* Wikimania. I encourage folks to peruse the Etherpad notes, which are quite extensive and expertly done by several folks there.

Some views I’d highlight:
- Having yearly Wikimania is important to keep the momentum of the movement going, according to many
- A case for cancelling yearly Wikimania was to encourage/fund regional meetups. However, there is no guarantee that those regional meetups would actually take place, or that WMF would necessarily take the money saved from Wikimania to fund them. Some folks from Asia specifically said that there is weaker linguistic, cultural and geographic synergy for an “Asian” conference like there is in Europe and Africa, which is why it has been hard to do one.
- One person noted that one trip to Wikimania served the same role as several international trips to get the same benefit from meeting other Wikimedians/developers, so there are indeed cost efficiencies in having a central conference.


-Andrew Lih
Associate professor of journalism, American University
Email: [hidden email]
WEB: http://www.andrewlih.com
BOOK: The Wikipedia Revolution: http://www.wikipediarevolution.com
PROJECT: Wiki Makes Video http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:WikiProject_Wiki_Makes_Video

On Fri, Jul 8, 2016 at 10:18 AM, Marc-Andre <[hidden email]> wrote:
On 2016-07-08 10:01 AM, Chris Keating wrote:
Interestingly, I couldn't see any sign of the Committee's decision being informed by the WMF's consultation on the future of Wikimania, or anyone from the WMF's community engagement department being present.

Wikimania is, and always was, a community led and organized event. The WMF, as its traditional biggest sponsor[1], has a great deal of influence in the matter - but ultimately no decision power beyond "fund and resource or not".

The committee's decision has indeed taken into account the consultation you refer to - as well as the roundtable discussion on the "Future of Wikimania" that took place earlier[2].  Our evaluation, which is reflected in that resolution, is that the consultation was clearly flawed and that its conclusion does not reflect consensus - neither of the community members who organize nor of those who attend Wikimania.

-- Coren / Marc

[1] Although "underwrite" might be a better term - the WMF has pretty much shouldered the vast majority of the costs and given the most logistical support year in and year out.

[2] Where the consensus was to overwhelmingly reject that consultation's conclusion in favor or continuing with Wikimania as a yearly even given its irreplaceable role in our movement.

_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l


_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l


_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l


_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l


_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l


_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l


_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l



_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Wikimania - annually, with South Africa in 2018?

Lodewijk
In reply to this post by Deryck Chan
Hi Deryck, all,

While you can agree or disagree on the usefulness of the letter, I would like to make one point about the idealab survey. One thing that is not pointed out clearly, is that there was a lot of criticism on the methodology of that particular survey, and how the conclusions were drawn. Please take a look at the talk page attached to that outcomes page that you linked, and consider that much of the criticism wasn't even responded to. I think Marc was kind but correct in his characterisation as 'clearly flawed'. There was some useful data in there, but the conclusions that were drawn, were a few bridges too far. 

Another thing that was mentioned in private conversations a lot, but not in many public discussions is that Wikimania is and should be primarily an investment in our community. Our community is by far our biggest asset. Having a healthy community is essential, and it is important that different communities learn from each other, exchange ideas and methods, interact. Not just with the few neighboring languages, but also with those far away. 

You can investigate if this Wikimania structure if the most effective way, but please lets not approach this from a 'cost cutting' perspective. Lets not consider Wikimania as a cost, but as an investment in something intangible, in infrastructure. The financial picture should be only a very small part of the consideration - in my humble opinion. I'm not sure who mentioned this at Wikimania (was it Dimi? Liam?) but if you compare the amount of money we spend on community building, and how much big companies spend on their staff happyness programmes, annual meetups and all - we're probably not doing too bad. I would be much happier if we looked at this from the perspective of the most effective way to have an international, constructive, interactive and exchanging community. 

Best,
Lodewijk

2016-07-09 21:50 GMT+02:00 Deryck Chan <[hidden email]>:

I find it a bit over the top too to have such a letter, so strongly worded, and signed by so many board chairs.

It reveals a divide between those who participated in the IdeaLab survey[1] and those who were at the Future of Wikimania session in Esino.

It would perhaps be interesting to see if correlations can be revealed as to what demographic of Wikimedian prefer 1 year per Wikimania and what demographic prefer 2 year per Wikimania - like geographical distribution, involvement in local Wikimedia groups (staff / board / other volunteer / not a participant), and past attendance at regional Wikimedia conferences and Wikimania.

[1] https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Grants:IdeaLab/Towards_a_New_Wikimania/Outcomes

Thank you. I find it confusing that the letter starts with "The chairpersons of the Wikimedia chapters state that Wikimania needs to be arranged every year," which implies that all of the chapter chairs are united in agreement, but it appears several chapters didn't sign the letter. Looking further at the content of the letter, I would have some questions about some of the statements that were made there. In the future, I would encourage chapter chairs to have discussions about matters such as this on the Affiliates mailing list so that we can have more inclusive discussions among more affiliates before sending letters like that. The Wikimania situation is already convoluted, and I believe that letters such as this should get fuller discussion among affiliates before they are sent to WMF.

Thanks,

Pine

On Jul 8, 2016 20:04, "Christophe Henner" <[hidden email]> wrote:

My bad I forgot it already is on meta https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia_chapters/Statements/Chapter_chairs_statement:_Wikimania_needs_to_be_arranged_every_year

Le 9 juil. 2016 4:50 AM, "Pine W" <[hidden email]> a écrit :

Thanks Christophe. I, for one, have had difficulty figuring out what is going on with Wikimania in regards to varying decisions in different parts of WMF and the community, so I look forward to the clarifications.

Personally I am currently neutral on the decision of whether to have annual Wikimanias, or alternate Wikimanias with years in which there is emphasis on national or regional conferences. My hunch is that some research about costs and benefits is needed so that we have reliable data about a variety of scenarios before making a decision.

Thanks again for working on this.

To the board chairs: I would be interested in seeing that letter. In the spirit of transparency, would you please publish it on Meta? As you know I am an advocate for much more transparency from WMF, and I would like for the affiliates to also to be transparent about governance matters such as this one.

Thanks,

Pine

On Jul 8, 2016 19:18, "Christophe Henner" <[hidden email]> wrote:

Hi everyone,

The same question was raised to the board a few days ago by chairs of Wikimedia organizations asking Foundation's board to make sure there's a comprehensive decision on this very topic. 

The chairs letter wasn't public, I let them share it on meta or here if they want to :)

First step, in my opinion, is to set expectations and define the scope (in the role of the event but also in the ressources (both human and financial) we commit to the event. 

Katherine is working with the staff to provide groundings.

Here is the answer I provided them with. 

----

Hi chairs!

First of all, thank you with the email, the feedback is clearly useful and raises interesting point. 

Now, the Wikimania discussion definitly is on the table. Living by what we said during Wikimania, we, as WMF, will make sure we end up with a clear answer to your questions but also to the different points you raise. 

Wikimania is an important time in our movement, but as you said it also comes with costs and challenges that we have to adress. Katherine is going to meet in the coming days with the staff in charge of that topic to start that discussion within WMF and provide groundings for a comprehensive decision. 

We will try to be as diligent as possible on that topic, but I would ask you to keep in mind that as we're in a transition phase and that might take a little more time than you could expect. 

Again thank you for your email, I love the fact that he raises issues but also includes the challenges we have to take care of :)

We'll get back to you as soon as possible to continue that discussion.

Have all a really great day / night :)

Christophe

While I concur with Coren’s conclusion, I’ll try to neutrally report on the events at Wikimania which led to this result. :)

Full disclosure: I’m a fan of Wikimania being yearly, and was asked to serve on the Wikimania Committee after Esino Lario. I was also the main moderator of the Wikimania 2016 session on the “Future of Wikimania.” These views are my own, and not anything official from the committee.

Background: Many folks (I’d say a majority) who I talked to in Esino Lario early in the conference thought that the decision to do Wikimania every other year was a done deal, as a result of the IdeaLab consultation. I told them that might not necessarily be so. The vote was close, not particularly widely known, and we could still be heard. Chris Schilling from the WMF, who oversaw the Idealab consultation, sought me out specifically at the start of the conference and to my delight, said that the consultation was “just another data point,” and that it was by no means the final word on things. Obviously, this was good news to people who were interested in keeping a yearly Wikimania.

I was scheduled to moderate the “Future of Wikimania” discussion session [1] at the very end of the conference, and encouraged people to let their views be heard. It was under these conditions that we entered into the final discussion room and I asked Chris Schilling to give an opening statement to the room. Most people were happy to hear him say that it was “just another data point.” During the discussion, there was overwhelming support to keep Wikimania going every year, which is not a surprise considering this was *at* Wikimania. I encourage folks to peruse the Etherpad notes, which are quite extensive and expertly done by several folks there.

Some views I’d highlight:
- Having yearly Wikimania is important to keep the momentum of the movement going, according to many
- A case for cancelling yearly Wikimania was to encourage/fund regional meetups. However, there is no guarantee that those regional meetups would actually take place, or that WMF would necessarily take the money saved from Wikimania to fund them. Some folks from Asia specifically said that there is weaker linguistic, cultural and geographic synergy for an “Asian” conference like there is in Europe and Africa, which is why it has been hard to do one.
- One person noted that one trip to Wikimania served the same role as several international trips to get the same benefit from meeting other Wikimedians/developers, so there are indeed cost efficiencies in having a central conference.


-Andrew Lih
Associate professor of journalism, American University
Email: [hidden email]
WEB: http://www.andrewlih.com
BOOK: The Wikipedia Revolution: http://www.wikipediarevolution.com
PROJECT: Wiki Makes Video http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:WikiProject_Wiki_Makes_Video

On Fri, Jul 8, 2016 at 10:18 AM, Marc-Andre <[hidden email]> wrote:
On 2016-07-08 10:01 AM, Chris Keating wrote:
Interestingly, I couldn't see any sign of the Committee's decision being informed by the WMF's consultation on the future of Wikimania, or anyone from the WMF's community engagement department being present.

Wikimania is, and always was, a community led and organized event. The WMF, as its traditional biggest sponsor[1], has a great deal of influence in the matter - but ultimately no decision power beyond "fund and resource or not".

The committee's decision has indeed taken into account the consultation you refer to - as well as the roundtable discussion on the "Future of Wikimania" that took place earlier[2].  Our evaluation, which is reflected in that resolution, is that the consultation was clearly flawed and that its conclusion does not reflect consensus - neither of the community members who organize nor of those who attend Wikimania.

-- Coren / Marc

[1] Although "underwrite" might be a better term - the WMF has pretty much shouldered the vast majority of the costs and given the most logistical support year in and year out.

[2] Where the consensus was to overwhelmingly reject that consultation's conclusion in favor or continuing with Wikimania as a yearly even given its irreplaceable role in our movement.

_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l


_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l


_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l


_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l


_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l


_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l


_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l



_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Wikimania - annually, with South Africa in 2018?

Deryck Chan

I think everybody on this thread agree that funding in-person conferences is a crucial way to invest in our community ;)

And I think most of us agree too that we now know the survey results were unrepresentative of the actual distribution of community opinions. I'm simply making suggestions about what we can learn from the imperfections.

Deryck
On 9 Jul, 2016 9:49 pm, "Lodewijk" <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> Hi Deryck, all,
>
> While you can agree or disagree on the usefulness of the letter, I would like to make one point about the idealab survey. One thing that is not pointed out clearly, is that there was a lot of criticism on the methodology of that particular survey, and how the conclusions were drawn. Please take a look at the talk page attached to that outcomes page that you linked, and consider that much of the criticism wasn't even responded to. I think Marc was kind but correct in his characterisation as 'clearly flawed'. There was some useful data in there, but the conclusions that were drawn, were a few bridges too far. 
>
> Another thing that was mentioned in private conversations a lot, but not in many public discussions is that Wikimania is and should be primarily an investment in our community. Our community is by far our biggest asset. Having a healthy community is essential, and it is important that different communities learn from each other, exchange ideas and methods, interact. Not just with the few neighboring languages, but also with those far away. 
>
> You can investigate if this Wikimania structure if the most effective way, but please lets not approach this from a 'cost cutting' perspective. Lets not consider Wikimania as a cost, but as an investment in something intangible, in infrastructure. The financial picture should be only a very small part of the consideration - in my humble opinion. I'm not sure who mentioned this at Wikimania (was it Dimi? Liam?) but if you compare the amount of money we spend on community building, and how much big companies spend on their staff happyness programmes, annual meetups and all - we're probably not doing too bad. I would be much happier if we looked at this from the perspective of the most effective way to have an international, constructive, interactive and exchanging community. 
>
> Best,
> Lodewijk
>
> 2016-07-09 21:50 GMT+02:00 Deryck Chan <[hidden email]>:
>>
>> I find it a bit over the top too to have such a letter, so strongly worded, and signed by so many board chairs.
>>
>> It reveals a divide between those who participated in the IdeaLab survey[1] and those who were at the Future of Wikimania session in Esino.
>>
>> It would perhaps be interesting to see if correlations can be revealed as to what demographic of Wikimedian prefer 1 year per Wikimania and what demographic prefer 2 year per Wikimania - like geographical distribution, involvement in local Wikimedia groups (staff / board / other volunteer / not a participant), and past attendance at regional Wikimedia conferences and Wikimania.
>>
>> [1] https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Grants:IdeaLab/Towards_a_New_Wikimania/Outcomes
>>
>> Thank you. I find it confusing that the letter starts with "The chairpersons of the Wikimedia chapters state that Wikimania needs to be arranged every year," which implies that all of the chapter chairs are united in agreement, but it appears several chapters didn't sign the letter. Looking further at the content of the letter, I would have some questions about some of the statements that were made there. In the future, I would encourage chapter chairs to have discussions about matters such as this on the Affiliates mailing list so that we can have more inclusive discussions among more affiliates before sending letters like that. The Wikimania situation is already convoluted, and I believe that letters such as this should get fuller discussion among affiliates before they are sent to WMF.
>>
>> Thanks,
>>
>> Pine
>>


_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Wikimania - annually, with South Africa in 2018?

Lodewijk
Actually, I'm afraid it runs a bit deeper than who's represented in the group. The way the questions were set up are considered to be 'leading' and there was no choice between the outcome and the status quo. Maybe this is indeed obvious to all - and I'm happy if that is the case. But I cannot conclude that from your emails (the opposite is suggested actually), and also at the discussion in Esino I didn't get the impression everyone was aware of what those flaws exactly were. So hopefully superfluously - pointing it out again. Sorry if I get boring or obnoxious!

Best,
Lodewijk

2016-07-09 23:57 GMT+02:00 Deryck Chan <[hidden email]>:

I think everybody on this thread agree that funding in-person conferences is a crucial way to invest in our community ;)

And I think most of us agree too that we now know the survey results were unrepresentative of the actual distribution of community opinions. I'm simply making suggestions about what we can learn from the imperfections.

Deryck
On 9 Jul, 2016 9:49 pm, "Lodewijk" <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> Hi Deryck, all,
>
> While you can agree or disagree on the usefulness of the letter, I would like to make one point about the idealab survey. One thing that is not pointed out clearly, is that there was a lot of criticism on the methodology of that particular survey, and how the conclusions were drawn. Please take a look at the talk page attached to that outcomes page that you linked, and consider that much of the criticism wasn't even responded to. I think Marc was kind but correct in his characterisation as 'clearly flawed'. There was some useful data in there, but the conclusions that were drawn, were a few bridges too far. 
>
> Another thing that was mentioned in private conversations a lot, but not in many public discussions is that Wikimania is and should be primarily an investment in our community. Our community is by far our biggest asset. Having a healthy community is essential, and it is important that different communities learn from each other, exchange ideas and methods, interact. Not just with the few neighboring languages, but also with those far away. 
>
> You can investigate if this Wikimania structure if the most effective way, but please lets not approach this from a 'cost cutting' perspective. Lets not consider Wikimania as a cost, but as an investment in something intangible, in infrastructure. The financial picture should be only a very small part of the consideration - in my humble opinion. I'm not sure who mentioned this at Wikimania (was it Dimi? Liam?) but if you compare the amount of money we spend on community building, and how much big companies spend on their staff happyness programmes, annual meetups and all - we're probably not doing too bad. I would be much happier if we looked at this from the perspective of the most effective way to have an international, constructive, interactive and exchanging community. 
>
> Best,
> Lodewijk
>
> 2016-07-09 21:50 GMT+02:00 Deryck Chan <[hidden email]>:
>>
>> I find it a bit over the top too to have such a letter, so strongly worded, and signed by so many board chairs.
>>
>> It reveals a divide between those who participated in the IdeaLab survey[1] and those who were at the Future of Wikimania session in Esino.
>>
>> It would perhaps be interesting to see if correlations can be revealed as to what demographic of Wikimedian prefer 1 year per Wikimania and what demographic prefer 2 year per Wikimania - like geographical distribution, involvement in local Wikimedia groups (staff / board / other volunteer / not a participant), and past attendance at regional Wikimedia conferences and Wikimania.
>>
>> [1] https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Grants:IdeaLab/Towards_a_New_Wikimania/Outcomes
>>
>> Thank you. I find it confusing that the letter starts with "The chairpersons of the Wikimedia chapters state that Wikimania needs to be arranged every year," which implies that all of the chapter chairs are united in agreement, but it appears several chapters didn't sign the letter. Looking further at the content of the letter, I would have some questions about some of the statements that were made there. In the future, I would encourage chapter chairs to have discussions about matters such as this on the Affiliates mailing list so that we can have more inclusive discussions among more affiliates before sending letters like that. The Wikimania situation is already convoluted, and I believe that letters such as this should get fuller discussion among affiliates before they are sent to WMF.
>>
>> Thanks,
>>
>> Pine
>>


_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l



_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Wikimania - annually, with South Africa in 2018?

Gnangarra
That original survey was intrinsically flawed and show be totally thrown out, the people who participated(myself included) were invited that list was primarily constructed of people who had participated in a closed discussion in Mexico which decided on Montreal by usurping the community consulation process that existed yet left many to unknowingly follow that process.  The questions gave no alternatives to the decisions of mexico.

Discussions at Wikimania are great except that the voices of those who cant attend arent heard, its important that everyones voice is heard fairly.   You've all heard my voice before about how unfair the scholarship processes are we saw again this year that unfairness to the region that is the third highest source of funding.   Balancing that unfairness should mean that Wikimania should be more accessible either via scholarships or via locations .

Wikimania should be returned to the community in a public process not decided behind closed doors.  The other unidentified benefits of hosting a Wikimania is that having the Board, the ED and so many other recognisable people in one place is that opportunity for the fundraising team to engage with potential new sources of funds and other resources alongside the community engagements.   It appears to me at least that the full potential of hosting Wikimania hasnt been identified and until that happens its value to the community isnt being realised.

On 10 July 2016 at 06:07, Lodewijk <[hidden email]> wrote:
Actually, I'm afraid it runs a bit deeper than who's represented in the group. The way the questions were set up are considered to be 'leading' and there was no choice between the outcome and the status quo. Maybe this is indeed obvious to all - and I'm happy if that is the case. But I cannot conclude that from your emails (the opposite is suggested actually), and also at the discussion in Esino I didn't get the impression everyone was aware of what those flaws exactly were. So hopefully superfluously - pointing it out again. Sorry if I get boring or obnoxious!

Best,
Lodewijk

2016-07-09 23:57 GMT+02:00 Deryck Chan <[hidden email]>:

I think everybody on this thread agree that funding in-person conferences is a crucial way to invest in our community ;)

And I think most of us agree too that we now know the survey results were unrepresentative of the actual distribution of community opinions. I'm simply making suggestions about what we can learn from the imperfections.

Deryck
On 9 Jul, 2016 9:49 pm, "Lodewijk" <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> Hi Deryck, all,
>
> While you can agree or disagree on the usefulness of the letter, I would like to make one point about the idealab survey. One thing that is not pointed out clearly, is that there was a lot of criticism on the methodology of that particular survey, and how the conclusions were drawn. Please take a look at the talk page attached to that outcomes page that you linked, and consider that much of the criticism wasn't even responded to. I think Marc was kind but correct in his characterisation as 'clearly flawed'. There was some useful data in there, but the conclusions that were drawn, were a few bridges too far. 
>
> Another thing that was mentioned in private conversations a lot, but not in many public discussions is that Wikimania is and should be primarily an investment in our community. Our community is by far our biggest asset. Having a healthy community is essential, and it is important that different communities learn from each other, exchange ideas and methods, interact. Not just with the few neighboring languages, but also with those far away. 
>
> You can investigate if this Wikimania structure if the most effective way, but please lets not approach this from a 'cost cutting' perspective. Lets not consider Wikimania as a cost, but as an investment in something intangible, in infrastructure. The financial picture should be only a very small part of the consideration - in my humble opinion. I'm not sure who mentioned this at Wikimania (was it Dimi? Liam?) but if you compare the amount of money we spend on community building, and how much big companies spend on their staff happyness programmes, annual meetups and all - we're probably not doing too bad. I would be much happier if we looked at this from the perspective of the most effective way to have an international, constructive, interactive and exchanging community. 
>
> Best,
> Lodewijk
>
> 2016-07-09 21:50 GMT+02:00 Deryck Chan <[hidden email]>:
>>
>> I find it a bit over the top too to have such a letter, so strongly worded, and signed by so many board chairs.
>>
>> It reveals a divide between those who participated in the IdeaLab survey[1] and those who were at the Future of Wikimania session in Esino.
>>
>> It would perhaps be interesting to see if correlations can be revealed as to what demographic of Wikimedian prefer 1 year per Wikimania and what demographic prefer 2 year per Wikimania - like geographical distribution, involvement in local Wikimedia groups (staff / board / other volunteer / not a participant), and past attendance at regional Wikimedia conferences and Wikimania.
>>
>> [1] https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Grants:IdeaLab/Towards_a_New_Wikimania/Outcomes
>>
>> Thank you. I find it confusing that the letter starts with "The chairpersons of the Wikimedia chapters state that Wikimania needs to be arranged every year," which implies that all of the chapter chairs are united in agreement, but it appears several chapters didn't sign the letter. Looking further at the content of the letter, I would have some questions about some of the statements that were made there. In the future, I would encourage chapter chairs to have discussions about matters such as this on the Affiliates mailing list so that we can have more inclusive discussions among more affiliates before sending letters like that. The Wikimania situation is already convoluted, and I believe that letters such as this should get fuller discussion among affiliates before they are sent to WMF.
>>
>> Thanks,
>>
>> Pine
>>


_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l



_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l




--
GN.
President Wikimedia Australia
WMAU: http://www.wikimedia.org.au/wiki/User:Gnangarra
Photo Gallery: http://gnangarra.redbubble.com


_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Wikimania - annually, with South Africa in 2018?

Andrew Lih-2
In reply to this post by Pine W
Pine,

I’m going to echo Lodewijk here on emphasizing investing in the community and also call into question the wisdom of portraying $600,000 of Wikimania cost as being comparable to hiring four WMF engineers. If you think about how much Wikipedia/Wikimedia’s brand equity is (most certainly in the billions of dollars), or the overall budget of WMF (tens of millions of dollars), a six figure amount to enable, maintain and inspire our volunteer community to do more, it is an extreme bargain and an excellent return on investment.

I had a conversation with Deror Avi of WM Israel, and he described how they account for volunteer time as “in kind donations” for the purposes of their chapter output and showing impact. If we do the same conservative calculation with, say, 600 volunteers who attend Wikimania on scholarship or organically, who might then “donate” 250 hours a year (~5 hours/week), and consider that donated time worth, on average, about $20/hour (probably too low), that works out to $3 million in returns. This is, of course, a back of the napkin calculation. However, the order of magnitude is significant. You’re roughly looking at a 5x return on what WMF spends to stage Wikimania, and I’d argue with less conservative numbers, 10x is not unreasonable.

This is not even taking into account the “pied piper” effect of training and evangelism at Wikimania having a multiplier effect far beyond individual training of attendees. It’s through Wikimania that folks like Liam Wyatt have created and furthered the GLAM movement, or Vassia Atanassova has infected people with 100 Wikidays, or people doing amazing things wits Wikidata have been able to feed off each other.

Looking at it this way I’d argue, “How can we, in good conscience, *not* spend $600,000 on our community?”

Perhaps one problem is that these types of benefits are so obvious to most Wikimania attendees, but fairly unknown to those who haven’t been, or rarely attend. If it’s useful, as someone on the Wikimania Committee, I’d like to try to surface more experiences and opinions to get a better overall picture of the net benefit of Wikimania for our movement. I’d welcome any and all ideas on how we can best do that.

-Andrew


-Andrew Lih
Associate professor of journalism, American University
Email: [hidden email]
WEB: http://www.andrewlih.com
BOOK: The Wikipedia Revolution: http://www.wikipediarevolution.com
PROJECT: Wiki Makes Video http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:WikiProject_Wiki_Makes_Video

On Sat, Jul 9, 2016 at 4:14 PM, Pine W <[hidden email]> wrote:
Agreed. I think that more data would be useful, including information such as what you highlighted here. I'd also be interested in projections of total attendance and costs (including travel costs and staff time) for Wikimania vs. having more or expanded national and regional conferences.

There's a substantial financial cost to all of this. It looks like the cost for Wikimania 2016, including scholarships, was about $500,000 excluding WMF and affiliate staff time, staff travel expenses, and expenses for those who paid their own flights. Ellie might be able to provide us with a better estimate of the total cost with those numbers included; my guess is that it was around $600,000, which is substantial. WMF might be able to hire four full-time engineers for a year for that amount. If WMF and the community are going to spend that much money every year on an annual conference, with the majority of that money coming from donors who give small-dollar amounts, I think that we need to think carefully and thoroughly about how we plan the conference (or conferences) to align with the goals of our donors and what we tell our donors. I believe that there is value in having face-to-face meetings and presentations; what isn't clear to me is whether the current Wikimania model should be continued or whether those funds would be better invested in regional and national conferences. I'm hoping that a careful analysis can be done that provides us some guidance about how to optimize our use of these financial resources.

Pine

On Sat, Jul 9, 2016 at 12:50 PM, Deryck Chan <[hidden email]> wrote:

I find it a bit over the top too to have such a letter, so strongly worded, and signed by so many board chairs.

It reveals a divide between those who participated in the IdeaLab survey[1] and those who were at the Future of Wikimania session in Esino.

It would perhaps be interesting to see if correlations can be revealed as to what demographic of Wikimedian prefer 1 year per Wikimania and what demographic prefer 2 year per Wikimania - like geographical distribution, involvement in local Wikimedia groups (staff / board / other volunteer / not a participant), and past attendance at regional Wikimedia conferences and Wikimania.

[1] https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Grants:IdeaLab/Towards_a_New_Wikimania/Outcomes

Thank you. I find it confusing that the letter starts with "The chairpersons of the Wikimedia chapters state that Wikimania needs to be arranged every year," which implies that all of the chapter chairs are united in agreement, but it appears several chapters didn't sign the letter. Looking further at the content of the letter, I would have some questions about some of the statements that were made there. In the future, I would encourage chapter chairs to have discussions about matters such as this on the Affiliates mailing list so that we can have more inclusive discussions among more affiliates before sending letters like that. The Wikimania situation is already convoluted, and I believe that letters such as this should get fuller discussion among affiliates before they are sent to WMF.

Thanks,

Pine

On Jul 8, 2016 20:04, "Christophe Henner" <[hidden email]> wrote:

My bad I forgot it already is on meta https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia_chapters/Statements/Chapter_chairs_statement:_Wikimania_needs_to_be_arranged_every_year

Le 9 juil. 2016 4:50 AM, "Pine W" <[hidden email]> a écrit :

Thanks Christophe. I, for one, have had difficulty figuring out what is going on with Wikimania in regards to varying decisions in different parts of WMF and the community, so I look forward to the clarifications.

Personally I am currently neutral on the decision of whether to have annual Wikimanias, or alternate Wikimanias with years in which there is emphasis on national or regional conferences. My hunch is that some research about costs and benefits is needed so that we have reliable data about a variety of scenarios before making a decision.

Thanks again for working on this.

To the board chairs: I would be interested in seeing that letter. In the spirit of transparency, would you please publish it on Meta? As you know I am an advocate for much more transparency from WMF, and I would like for the affiliates to also to be transparent about governance matters such as this one.

Thanks,

Pine

On Jul 8, 2016 19:18, "Christophe Henner" <[hidden email]> wrote:

Hi everyone,

The same question was raised to the board a few days ago by chairs of Wikimedia organizations asking Foundation's board to make sure there's a comprehensive decision on this very topic. 

The chairs letter wasn't public, I let them share it on meta or here if they want to :)

First step, in my opinion, is to set expectations and define the scope (in the role of the event but also in the ressources (both human and financial) we commit to the event. 

Katherine is working with the staff to provide groundings.

Here is the answer I provided them with. 

----

Hi chairs!

First of all, thank you with the email, the feedback is clearly useful and raises interesting point. 

Now, the Wikimania discussion definitly is on the table. Living by what we said during Wikimania, we, as WMF, will make sure we end up with a clear answer to your questions but also to the different points you raise. 

Wikimania is an important time in our movement, but as you said it also comes with costs and challenges that we have to adress. Katherine is going to meet in the coming days with the staff in charge of that topic to start that discussion within WMF and provide groundings for a comprehensive decision. 

We will try to be as diligent as possible on that topic, but I would ask you to keep in mind that as we're in a transition phase and that might take a little more time than you could expect. 

Again thank you for your email, I love the fact that he raises issues but also includes the challenges we have to take care of :)

We'll get back to you as soon as possible to continue that discussion.

Have all a really great day / night :)

Christophe

While I concur with Coren’s conclusion, I’ll try to neutrally report on the events at Wikimania which led to this result. :)

Full disclosure: I’m a fan of Wikimania being yearly, and was asked to serve on the Wikimania Committee after Esino Lario. I was also the main moderator of the Wikimania 2016 session on the “Future of Wikimania.” These views are my own, and not anything official from the committee.

Background: Many folks (I’d say a majority) who I talked to in Esino Lario early in the conference thought that the decision to do Wikimania every other year was a done deal, as a result of the IdeaLab consultation. I told them that might not necessarily be so. The vote was close, not particularly widely known, and we could still be heard. Chris Schilling from the WMF, who oversaw the Idealab consultation, sought me out specifically at the start of the conference and to my delight, said that the consultation was “just another data point,” and that it was by no means the final word on things. Obviously, this was good news to people who were interested in keeping a yearly Wikimania.

I was scheduled to moderate the “Future of Wikimania” discussion session [1] at the very end of the conference, and encouraged people to let their views be heard. It was under these conditions that we entered into the final discussion room and I asked Chris Schilling to give an opening statement to the room. Most people were happy to hear him say that it was “just another data point.” During the discussion, there was overwhelming support to keep Wikimania going every year, which is not a surprise considering this was *at* Wikimania. I encourage folks to peruse the Etherpad notes, which are quite extensive and expertly done by several folks there.

Some views I’d highlight:
- Having yearly Wikimania is important to keep the momentum of the movement going, according to many
- A case for cancelling yearly Wikimania was to encourage/fund regional meetups. However, there is no guarantee that those regional meetups would actually take place, or that WMF would necessarily take the money saved from Wikimania to fund them. Some folks from Asia specifically said that there is weaker linguistic, cultural and geographic synergy for an “Asian” conference like there is in Europe and Africa, which is why it has been hard to do one.
- One person noted that one trip to Wikimania served the same role as several international trips to get the same benefit from meeting other Wikimedians/developers, so there are indeed cost efficiencies in having a central conference.


-Andrew Lih
Associate professor of journalism, American University
Email: [hidden email]
WEB: http://www.andrewlih.com
BOOK: The Wikipedia Revolution: http://www.wikipediarevolution.com
PROJECT: Wiki Makes Video http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:WikiProject_Wiki_Makes_Video

On Fri, Jul 8, 2016 at 10:18 AM, Marc-Andre <[hidden email]> wrote:
On 2016-07-08 10:01 AM, Chris Keating wrote:
Interestingly, I couldn't see any sign of the Committee's decision being informed by the WMF's consultation on the future of Wikimania, or anyone from the WMF's community engagement department being present.

Wikimania is, and always was, a community led and organized event. The WMF, as its traditional biggest sponsor[1], has a great deal of influence in the matter - but ultimately no decision power beyond "fund and resource or not".

The committee's decision has indeed taken into account the consultation you refer to - as well as the roundtable discussion on the "Future of Wikimania" that took place earlier[2].  Our evaluation, which is reflected in that resolution, is that the consultation was clearly flawed and that its conclusion does not reflect consensus - neither of the community members who organize nor of those who attend Wikimania.

-- Coren / Marc

[1] Although "underwrite" might be a better term - the WMF has pretty much shouldered the vast majority of the costs and given the most logistical support year in and year out.

[2] Where the consensus was to overwhelmingly reject that consultation's conclusion in favor or continuing with Wikimania as a yearly even given its irreplaceable role in our movement.

_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l


_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l


_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l


_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l


_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l


_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l


_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l



_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l



_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Wikimania - annually, with South Africa in 2018?

Leila Zia
In reply to this post by Pine W
Hi Pine,

On Sat, Jul 9, 2016 at 1:14 PM, Pine W <[hidden email]> wrote:
 
I'd also be interested in projections of total attendance and costs (including travel costs and staff time) for Wikimania vs. having more or expanded national and regional conferences.

But then there is the benefit (which is not fully captured by attendance that) we need to take into account, too, and that's where the main problem starts. It's relatively easy to measure the costs of conferences, it's very hard to measure their benefit for a variety of reasons, one of which, in our context, is that it's hard to assign price-tag to many of the projects the community and beyond drive, even if you can clearly link them to Wikimania (which is a problem on its own). And that's already the easier part of the benefit analysis. It can get way more complicated if we want to assign a price-tag to how much it's worth for each of us to learn more about others.

And now add to all the above, that you are suggesting that we do cost-benefit analysis for multiple conference models and compare them. Think about designing control experiments, considering the interactions between conferences (people who attend both vs. those who attend only one kind), etc.

I would not go down the path of cost-benefit analysis for a conference such as Wikimania. We will loose too much time and money and still the analysis will have so many questionable components.

​What industry and academic conferences usually do when they're in doubt is that they become bold and start a new conference but keep the original one in place. If the new conference attracts more audience, to the extent that at some point organizing the original conference doesn't make sense (too few attendees, lower quality abstract submissions, major people in the field moving to the new conference), then they gradually stop the original conference. It seems that following that approach would be more beneficial than questioning the usefulness of Wikimania without more extensively trying the other conference/meet-up types first and in parallel to Wikimania.

If WMF and the community are going to spend that much money every year on an annual conference, with the majority of that money coming from donors who give small-dollar amounts, I think that we need to think carefully and thoroughly about how we plan the conference (or conferences) to align with the goals of our donors and what we tell our donors.

​Two points to take into account here:

* Wikimania is a major and mature conference and it's fair to compare it to major academic conferences that I'm more familiar with. The cost of such conferences is usually quite higher than Wikimania, if you consider roughly the same attendance numbers. I would start worrying about the cost of Wikimania only if the cost goes much higher than the industry standard.

* I wouldn't recommend reconsidering how we plan for our major conferences based on what we tell our donors. We should define our needs and find a way to fund them.
 
Leila

--
Leila Zia
Research Scientist
Wikimedia Foundation


Pine

On Sat, Jul 9, 2016 at 12:50 PM, Deryck Chan <[hidden email]> wrote:

I find it a bit over the top too to have such a letter, so strongly worded, and signed by so many board chairs.

It reveals a divide between those who participated in the IdeaLab survey[1] and those who were at the Future of Wikimania session in Esino.

It would perhaps be interesting to see if correlations can be revealed as to what demographic of Wikimedian prefer 1 year per Wikimania and what demographic prefer 2 year per Wikimania - like geographical distribution, involvement in local Wikimedia groups (staff / board / other volunteer / not a participant), and past attendance at regional Wikimedia conferences and Wikimania.

[1] https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Grants:IdeaLab/Towards_a_New_Wikimania/Outcomes

Thank you. I find it confusing that the letter starts with "The chairpersons of the Wikimedia chapters state that Wikimania needs to be arranged every year," which implies that all of the chapter chairs are united in agreement, but it appears several chapters didn't sign the letter. Looking further at the content of the letter, I would have some questions about some of the statements that were made there. In the future, I would encourage chapter chairs to have discussions about matters such as this on the Affiliates mailing list so that we can have more inclusive discussions among more affiliates before sending letters like that. The Wikimania situation is already convoluted, and I believe that letters such as this should get fuller discussion among affiliates before they are sent to WMF.

Thanks,

Pine

On Jul 8, 2016 20:04, "Christophe Henner" <[hidden email]> wrote:

My bad I forgot it already is on meta https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia_chapters/Statements/Chapter_chairs_statement:_Wikimania_needs_to_be_arranged_every_year

Le 9 juil. 2016 4:50 AM, "Pine W" <[hidden email]> a écrit :

Thanks Christophe. I, for one, have had difficulty figuring out what is going on with Wikimania in regards to varying decisions in different parts of WMF and the community, so I look forward to the clarifications.

Personally I am currently neutral on the decision of whether to have annual Wikimanias, or alternate Wikimanias with years in which there is emphasis on national or regional conferences. My hunch is that some research about costs and benefits is needed so that we have reliable data about a variety of scenarios before making a decision.

Thanks again for working on this.

To the board chairs: I would be interested in seeing that letter. In the spirit of transparency, would you please publish it on Meta? As you know I am an advocate for much more transparency from WMF, and I would like for the affiliates to also to be transparent about governance matters such as this one.

Thanks,

Pine

On Jul 8, 2016 19:18, "Christophe Henner" <[hidden email]> wrote:

Hi everyone,

The same question was raised to the board a few days ago by chairs of Wikimedia organizations asking Foundation's board to make sure there's a comprehensive decision on this very topic. 

The chairs letter wasn't public, I let them share it on meta or here if they want to :)

First step, in my opinion, is to set expectations and define the scope (in the role of the event but also in the ressources (both human and financial) we commit to the event. 

Katherine is working with the staff to provide groundings.

Here is the answer I provided them with. 

----

Hi chairs!

First of all, thank you with the email, the feedback is clearly useful and raises interesting point. 

Now, the Wikimania discussion definitly is on the table. Living by what we said during Wikimania, we, as WMF, will make sure we end up with a clear answer to your questions but also to the different points you raise. 

Wikimania is an important time in our movement, but as you said it also comes with costs and challenges that we have to adress. Katherine is going to meet in the coming days with the staff in charge of that topic to start that discussion within WMF and provide groundings for a comprehensive decision. 

We will try to be as diligent as possible on that topic, but I would ask you to keep in mind that as we're in a transition phase and that might take a little more time than you could expect. 

Again thank you for your email, I love the fact that he raises issues but also includes the challenges we have to take care of :)

We'll get back to you as soon as possible to continue that discussion.

Have all a really great day / night :)

Christophe

While I concur with Coren’s conclusion, I’ll try to neutrally report on the events at Wikimania which led to this result. :)

Full disclosure: I’m a fan of Wikimania being yearly, and was asked to serve on the Wikimania Committee after Esino Lario. I was also the main moderator of the Wikimania 2016 session on the “Future of Wikimania.” These views are my own, and not anything official from the committee.

Background: Many folks (I’d say a majority) who I talked to in Esino Lario early in the conference thought that the decision to do Wikimania every other year was a done deal, as a result of the IdeaLab consultation. I told them that might not necessarily be so. The vote was close, not particularly widely known, and we could still be heard. Chris Schilling from the WMF, who oversaw the Idealab consultation, sought me out specifically at the start of the conference and to my delight, said that the consultation was “just another data point,” and that it was by no means the final word on things. Obviously, this was good news to people who were interested in keeping a yearly Wikimania.

I was scheduled to moderate the “Future of Wikimania” discussion session [1] at the very end of the conference, and encouraged people to let their views be heard. It was under these conditions that we entered into the final discussion room and I asked Chris Schilling to give an opening statement to the room. Most people were happy to hear him say that it was “just another data point.” During the discussion, there was overwhelming support to keep Wikimania going every year, which is not a surprise considering this was *at* Wikimania. I encourage folks to peruse the Etherpad notes, which are quite extensive and expertly done by several folks there.

Some views I’d highlight:
- Having yearly Wikimania is important to keep the momentum of the movement going, according to many
- A case for cancelling yearly Wikimania was to encourage/fund regional meetups. However, there is no guarantee that those regional meetups would actually take place, or that WMF would necessarily take the money saved from Wikimania to fund them. Some folks from Asia specifically said that there is weaker linguistic, cultural and geographic synergy for an “Asian” conference like there is in Europe and Africa, which is why it has been hard to do one.
- One person noted that one trip to Wikimania served the same role as several international trips to get the same benefit from meeting other Wikimedians/developers, so there are indeed cost efficiencies in having a central conference.


-Andrew Lih
Associate professor of journalism, American University
Email: [hidden email]
WEB: http://www.andrewlih.com
BOOK: The Wikipedia Revolution: http://www.wikipediarevolution.com
PROJECT: Wiki Makes Video http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:WikiProject_Wiki_Makes_Video

On Fri, Jul 8, 2016 at 10:18 AM, Marc-Andre <[hidden email]> wrote:
On 2016-07-08 10:01 AM, Chris Keating wrote:
Interestingly, I couldn't see any sign of the Committee's decision being informed by the WMF's consultation on the future of Wikimania, or anyone from the WMF's community engagement department being present.

Wikimania is, and always was, a community led and organized event. The WMF, as its traditional biggest sponsor[1], has a great deal of influence in the matter - but ultimately no decision power beyond "fund and resource or not".

The committee's decision has indeed taken into account the consultation you refer to - as well as the roundtable discussion on the "Future of Wikimania" that took place earlier[2].  Our evaluation, which is reflected in that resolution, is that the consultation was clearly flawed and that its conclusion does not reflect consensus - neither of the community members who organize nor of those who attend Wikimania.

-- Coren / Marc

[1] Although "underwrite" might be a better term - the WMF has pretty much shouldered the vast majority of the costs and given the most logistical support year in and year out.

[2] Where the consensus was to overwhelmingly reject that consultation's conclusion in favor or continuing with Wikimania as a yearly even given its irreplaceable role in our movement.

_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l


_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l


_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l


_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l


_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l


_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l


_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l



_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l



_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Wikimania - annually, with South Africa in 2018?

Pine W
Hi Andrew and Leila,

There are quite a few ways of looking at the numbers (which is one reason that I'm hoping for a thorough analysis.) Please note that I think that conferences should happen; I am asking if this is the status quo is the optimal way of spending these funds. There are other ways of using funds for conferences that could be explored.

For example, if a Wikimania costs $600,000 and there are 1,000 attendees, that works out to a cost of $600 per attendee for 1000 people. Is that a wiser investment than spreading out the same funds among (hypothetically) 3,000 attendees at multiple national/regional conferences for an average expense of $200 per attendee? At this point I don't think any of us can answer that question.

The Wikimania-going population, especially the people who go to many WIkimanias, are a vanishingly small percentage of the overall WIkimedia population. They tend to be active, but there are plenty of active Wikimedians such as myself who have never been to Wikimania, although I'd like to go next year. Does it make sense to spend so much money on such a small percentage of our community? There are reasons to think that the answer could be yes; for example, if Wikimania motivates highly active contributors and leaders to keep up the good work. However, it's not clear that similarly good effects couldn't be achieved on a broader scale by spreading the funds among more numerous smaller conferences.

There is a good argument to be made that having lots of highly active contributors and project leaders from all over the world in the same place, and having WMF staff mix with them, is a good idea for purposes of improving communications and relationships. Generation of good PR press, and cross-pollination of ideas, are also important and I think that we should support those. However, similarly good outcomes might be achieved through multiple smaller conferences.

I'm in favor of continuing to spend funds on conferences; what I think that none of us know is whether our current model of a single large conference is "better" than multiple national/regional conferences.

Along the lines of Leila's suggestion, the idea of temporarily scaling up WMF's support for national/regional (or thematic) conferences while keeping Wikimania in place makes sense to me. That requires some willingness to spend the funds for both types of events for a few years. It's a bit of an expensive proposition though, and I'm wary of asking the WMF staff to spend more time traveling to more conferences. I guess I'm cautiously in favor of looking at this option if it's financially practical to scale up the support for focused conferences while maintaining support for Wikimania. Keep in mind that WMF Fundraising is worried about plateauing revenues, so we're working in a world of resource constraints and trying to do the best we can with what we've got.

I'm looking forward to hearing what Katherine and Christophe think. And with that, I'm afraid that I must depart this thread to attend to other matters. (: Thanks for the good conversation, everyone.

Pine

On Sat, Jul 9, 2016 at 6:37 PM, Leila Zia <[hidden email]> wrote:
Hi Pine,

On Sat, Jul 9, 2016 at 1:14 PM, Pine W <[hidden email]> wrote:
 
I'd also be interested in projections of total attendance and costs (including travel costs and staff time) for Wikimania vs. having more or expanded national and regional conferences.

But then there is the benefit (which is not fully captured by attendance that) we need to take into account, too, and that's where the main problem starts. It's relatively easy to measure the costs of conferences, it's very hard to measure their benefit for a variety of reasons, one of which, in our context, is that it's hard to assign price-tag to many of the projects the community and beyond drive, even if you can clearly link them to Wikimania (which is a problem on its own). And that's already the easier part of the benefit analysis. It can get way more complicated if we want to assign a price-tag to how much it's worth for each of us to learn more about others.

And now add to all the above, that you are suggesting that we do cost-benefit analysis for multiple conference models and compare them. Think about designing control experiments, considering the interactions between conferences (people who attend both vs. those who attend only one kind), etc.

I would not go down the path of cost-benefit analysis for a conference such as Wikimania. We will loose too much time and money and still the analysis will have so many questionable components.

​What industry and academic conferences usually do when they're in doubt is that they become bold and start a new conference but keep the original one in place. If the new conference attracts more audience, to the extent that at some point organizing the original conference doesn't make sense (too few attendees, lower quality abstract submissions, major people in the field moving to the new conference), then they gradually stop the original conference. It seems that following that approach would be more beneficial than questioning the usefulness of Wikimania without more extensively trying the other conference/meet-up types first and in parallel to Wikimania.

If WMF and the community are going to spend that much money every year on an annual conference, with the majority of that money coming from donors who give small-dollar amounts, I think that we need to think carefully and thoroughly about how we plan the conference (or conferences) to align with the goals of our donors and what we tell our donors.

​Two points to take into account here:

* Wikimania is a major and mature conference and it's fair to compare it to major academic conferences that I'm more familiar with. The cost of such conferences is usually quite higher than Wikimania, if you consider roughly the same attendance numbers. I would start worrying about the cost of Wikimania only if the cost goes much higher than the industry standard.

* I wouldn't recommend reconsidering how we plan for our major conferences based on what we tell our donors. We should define our needs and find a way to fund them.
 
Leila

--
Leila Zia
Research Scientist
Wikimedia Foundation


Pine

On Sat, Jul 9, 2016 at 12:50 PM, Deryck Chan <[hidden email]> wrote:

I find it a bit over the top too to have such a letter, so strongly worded, and signed by so many board chairs.

It reveals a divide between those who participated in the IdeaLab survey[1] and those who were at the Future of Wikimania session in Esino.

It would perhaps be interesting to see if correlations can be revealed as to what demographic of Wikimedian prefer 1 year per Wikimania and what demographic prefer 2 year per Wikimania - like geographical distribution, involvement in local Wikimedia groups (staff / board / other volunteer / not a participant), and past attendance at regional Wikimedia conferences and Wikimania.

[1] https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Grants:IdeaLab/Towards_a_New_Wikimania/Outcomes

Thank you. I find it confusing that the letter starts with "The chairpersons of the Wikimedia chapters state that Wikimania needs to be arranged every year," which implies that all of the chapter chairs are united in agreement, but it appears several chapters didn't sign the letter. Looking further at the content of the letter, I would have some questions about some of the statements that were made there. In the future, I would encourage chapter chairs to have discussions about matters such as this on the Affiliates mailing list so that we can have more inclusive discussions among more affiliates before sending letters like that. The Wikimania situation is already convoluted, and I believe that letters such as this should get fuller discussion among affiliates before they are sent to WMF.

Thanks,

Pine

On Jul 8, 2016 20:04, "Christophe Henner" <[hidden email]> wrote:

My bad I forgot it already is on meta https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia_chapters/Statements/Chapter_chairs_statement:_Wikimania_needs_to_be_arranged_every_year

Le 9 juil. 2016 4:50 AM, "Pine W" <[hidden email]> a écrit :

Thanks Christophe. I, for one, have had difficulty figuring out what is going on with Wikimania in regards to varying decisions in different parts of WMF and the community, so I look forward to the clarifications.

Personally I am currently neutral on the decision of whether to have annual Wikimanias, or alternate Wikimanias with years in which there is emphasis on national or regional conferences. My hunch is that some research about costs and benefits is needed so that we have reliable data about a variety of scenarios before making a decision.

Thanks again for working on this.

To the board chairs: I would be interested in seeing that letter. In the spirit of transparency, would you please publish it on Meta? As you know I am an advocate for much more transparency from WMF, and I would like for the affiliates to also to be transparent about governance matters such as this one.

Thanks,

Pine

On Jul 8, 2016 19:18, "Christophe Henner" <[hidden email]> wrote:

Hi everyone,

The same question was raised to the board a few days ago by chairs of Wikimedia organizations asking Foundation's board to make sure there's a comprehensive decision on this very topic. 

The chairs letter wasn't public, I let them share it on meta or here if they want to :)

First step, in my opinion, is to set expectations and define the scope (in the role of the event but also in the ressources (both human and financial) we commit to the event. 

Katherine is working with the staff to provide groundings.

Here is the answer I provided them with. 

----

Hi chairs!

First of all, thank you with the email, the feedback is clearly useful and raises interesting point. 

Now, the Wikimania discussion definitly is on the table. Living by what we said during Wikimania, we, as WMF, will make sure we end up with a clear answer to your questions but also to the different points you raise. 

Wikimania is an important time in our movement, but as you said it also comes with costs and challenges that we have to adress. Katherine is going to meet in the coming days with the staff in charge of that topic to start that discussion within WMF and provide groundings for a comprehensive decision. 

We will try to be as diligent as possible on that topic, but I would ask you to keep in mind that as we're in a transition phase and that might take a little more time than you could expect. 

Again thank you for your email, I love the fact that he raises issues but also includes the challenges we have to take care of :)

We'll get back to you as soon as possible to continue that discussion.

Have all a really great day / night :)

Christophe

While I concur with Coren’s conclusion, I’ll try to neutrally report on the events at Wikimania which led to this result. :)

Full disclosure: I’m a fan of Wikimania being yearly, and was asked to serve on the Wikimania Committee after Esino Lario. I was also the main moderator of the Wikimania 2016 session on the “Future of Wikimania.” These views are my own, and not anything official from the committee.

Background: Many folks (I’d say a majority) who I talked to in Esino Lario early in the conference thought that the decision to do Wikimania every other year was a done deal, as a result of the IdeaLab consultation. I told them that might not necessarily be so. The vote was close, not particularly widely known, and we could still be heard. Chris Schilling from the WMF, who oversaw the Idealab consultation, sought me out specifically at the start of the conference and to my delight, said that the consultation was “just another data point,” and that it was by no means the final word on things. Obviously, this was good news to people who were interested in keeping a yearly Wikimania.

I was scheduled to moderate the “Future of Wikimania” discussion session [1] at the very end of the conference, and encouraged people to let their views be heard. It was under these conditions that we entered into the final discussion room and I asked Chris Schilling to give an opening statement to the room. Most people were happy to hear him say that it was “just another data point.” During the discussion, there was overwhelming support to keep Wikimania going every year, which is not a surprise considering this was *at* Wikimania. I encourage folks to peruse the Etherpad notes, which are quite extensive and expertly done by several folks there.

Some views I’d highlight:
- Having yearly Wikimania is important to keep the momentum of the movement going, according to many
- A case for cancelling yearly Wikimania was to encourage/fund regional meetups. However, there is no guarantee that those regional meetups would actually take place, or that WMF would necessarily take the money saved from Wikimania to fund them. Some folks from Asia specifically said that there is weaker linguistic, cultural and geographic synergy for an “Asian” conference like there is in Europe and Africa, which is why it has been hard to do one.
- One person noted that one trip to Wikimania served the same role as several international trips to get the same benefit from meeting other Wikimedians/developers, so there are indeed cost efficiencies in having a central conference.


-Andrew Lih
Associate professor of journalism, American University
Email: [hidden email]
WEB: http://www.andrewlih.com
BOOK: The Wikipedia Revolution: http://www.wikipediarevolution.com
PROJECT: Wiki Makes Video http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:WikiProject_Wiki_Makes_Video

On Fri, Jul 8, 2016 at 10:18 AM, Marc-Andre <[hidden email]> wrote:
On 2016-07-08 10:01 AM, Chris Keating wrote:
Interestingly, I couldn't see any sign of the Committee's decision being informed by the WMF's consultation on the future of Wikimania, or anyone from the WMF's community engagement department being present.

Wikimania is, and always was, a community led and organized event. The WMF, as its traditional biggest sponsor[1], has a great deal of influence in the matter - but ultimately no decision power beyond "fund and resource or not".

The committee's decision has indeed taken into account the consultation you refer to - as well as the roundtable discussion on the "Future of Wikimania" that took place earlier[2].  Our evaluation, which is reflected in that resolution, is that the consultation was clearly flawed and that its conclusion does not reflect consensus - neither of the community members who organize nor of those who attend Wikimania.

-- Coren / Marc

[1] Although "underwrite" might be a better term - the WMF has pretty much shouldered the vast majority of the costs and given the most logistical support year in and year out.

[2] Where the consensus was to overwhelmingly reject that consultation's conclusion in favor or continuing with Wikimania as a yearly even given its irreplaceable role in our movement.

_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l


_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l


_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l


_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l


_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l


_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l


_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l



_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l



_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l



_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Wikimania - annually, with South Africa in 2018?

Risker
Wikimania serves many purposes.  Some of those purposes can be served by regional conferences, if they are properly broadcast or their information is similarly made available to the community at large.  Other purposes are served better by having a global gathering.  For example, one of my personal objectives at this year's Wikimania was to talk to peers and seek out candidates for the Board-appointed FDC seats; I was specifically looking for women and/or non-Western candidates.  Being able to meet those candidates in person and talk to them about the work of the FDC means...well, at least one of them has posted a candidacy now.  These sorts of connections are very difficult to make without the personal touch.  I invariably learn more from people I'd meet nowhere else but Wikimania than I do in any other forum.  Remember that it is much more difficult for people to justify attendance at a conference in another region or country, where the program is going to be geared to a local rather than international audience, than it is to justify attending the global conference.  It's not just about money. It's about developing the roots that spread beyond the conference.  Many Wikimedians who have brought a great deal to our broad community first made their connections with others at Wikimania.  The Hackathon attached to Wikimania is often one of the most valuable aspects of the conference - hackathons tend to "get things done", actively develop skills in those creating tools and software that improves our projects, and assists in integrating the editing and developer communities.  (The developer team usually makes up the largest part of the WMF staff contingent; I understand this year was an exception, and I will be interested to know whether Hackathon participants thought it was as effective.)

It is also the only "global" conference that any Wikimedian can attend.  Those who attend the Wikimedia Affiliates Conference, for example, are there by invitation only, and specifically excluded if they are not part of a formally recognized organization.  Many local or national conferences will (quite reasonably) be conducted in the local language, which can exclude effective participation from anyone outside that region. 

I do entirely understand the point about costs to individuals, though: if not sponsored or provided with some form of assistance, it's not cheap to travel to another continent and pay for room and board on top of any conference fee.  On the other hand, I'm not sure that it's any cheaper in the big picture to have a bunch of regional conferences where WMF staff have to keep traveling, or when we don't get the benefit that derives from the Hackathons or other pre-conference activities. 

Risker/Anne

On 9 July 2016 at 21:50, Pine W <[hidden email]> wrote:
Hi Andrew and Leila,

There are quite a few ways of looking at the numbers (which is one reason that I'm hoping for a thorough analysis.) Please note that I think that conferences should happen; I am asking if this is the status quo is the optimal way of spending these funds. There are other ways of using funds for conferences that could be explored.

For example, if a Wikimania costs $600,000 and there are 1,000 attendees, that works out to a cost of $600 per attendee for 1000 people. Is that a wiser investment than spreading out the same funds among (hypothetically) 3,000 attendees at multiple national/regional conferences for an average expense of $200 per attendee? At this point I don't think any of us can answer that question.

The Wikimania-going population, especially the people who go to many WIkimanias, are a vanishingly small percentage of the overall WIkimedia population. They tend to be active, but there are plenty of active Wikimedians such as myself who have never been to Wikimania, although I'd like to go next year. Does it make sense to spend so much money on such a small percentage of our community? There are reasons to think that the answer could be yes; for example, if Wikimania motivates highly active contributors and leaders to keep up the good work. However, it's not clear that similarly good effects couldn't be achieved on a broader scale by spreading the funds among more numerous smaller conferences.

There is a good argument to be made that having lots of highly active contributors and project leaders from all over the world in the same place, and having WMF staff mix with them, is a good idea for purposes of improving communications and relationships. Generation of good PR press, and cross-pollination of ideas, are also important and I think that we should support those. However, similarly good outcomes might be achieved through multiple smaller conferences.

I'm in favor of continuing to spend funds on conferences; what I think that none of us know is whether our current model of a single large conference is "better" than multiple national/regional conferences.

Along the lines of Leila's suggestion, the idea of temporarily scaling up WMF's support for national/regional (or thematic) conferences while keeping Wikimania in place makes sense to me. That requires some willingness to spend the funds for both types of events for a few years. It's a bit of an expensive proposition though, and I'm wary of asking the WMF staff to spend more time traveling to more conferences. I guess I'm cautiously in favor of looking at this option if it's financially practical to scale up the support for focused conferences while maintaining support for Wikimania. Keep in mind that WMF Fundraising is worried about plateauing revenues, so we're working in a world of resource constraints and trying to do the best we can with what we've got.

I'm looking forward to hearing what Katherine and Christophe think. And with that, I'm afraid that I must depart this thread to attend to other matters. (: Thanks for the good conversation, everyone.

Pine

On Sat, Jul 9, 2016 at 6:37 PM, Leila Zia <[hidden email]> wrote:
Hi Pine,

On Sat, Jul 9, 2016 at 1:14 PM, Pine W <[hidden email]> wrote:
 
I'd also be interested in projections of total attendance and costs (including travel costs and staff time) for Wikimania vs. having more or expanded national and regional conferences.

But then there is the benefit (which is not fully captured by attendance that) we need to take into account, too, and that's where the main problem starts. It's relatively easy to measure the costs of conferences, it's very hard to measure their benefit for a variety of reasons, one of which, in our context, is that it's hard to assign price-tag to many of the projects the community and beyond drive, even if you can clearly link them to Wikimania (which is a problem on its own). And that's already the easier part of the benefit analysis. It can get way more complicated if we want to assign a price-tag to how much it's worth for each of us to learn more about others.

And now add to all the above, that you are suggesting that we do cost-benefit analysis for multiple conference models and compare them. Think about designing control experiments, considering the interactions between conferences (people who attend both vs. those who attend only one kind), etc.

I would not go down the path of cost-benefit analysis for a conference such as Wikimania. We will loose too much time and money and still the analysis will have so many questionable components.

​What industry and academic conferences usually do when they're in doubt is that they become bold and start a new conference but keep the original one in place. If the new conference attracts more audience, to the extent that at some point organizing the original conference doesn't make sense (too few attendees, lower quality abstract submissions, major people in the field moving to the new conference), then they gradually stop the original conference. It seems that following that approach would be more beneficial than questioning the usefulness of Wikimania without more extensively trying the other conference/meet-up types first and in parallel to Wikimania.

If WMF and the community are going to spend that much money every year on an annual conference, with the majority of that money coming from donors who give small-dollar amounts, I think that we need to think carefully and thoroughly about how we plan the conference (or conferences) to align with the goals of our donors and what we tell our donors.

​Two points to take into account here:

* Wikimania is a major and mature conference and it's fair to compare it to major academic conferences that I'm more familiar with. The cost of such conferences is usually quite higher than Wikimania, if you consider roughly the same attendance numbers. I would start worrying about the cost of Wikimania only if the cost goes much higher than the industry standard.

* I wouldn't recommend reconsidering how we plan for our major conferences based on what we tell our donors. We should define our needs and find a way to fund them.
 
Leila

--
Leila Zia
Research Scientist
Wikimedia Foundation


Pine

On Sat, Jul 9, 2016 at 12:50 PM, Deryck Chan <[hidden email]> wrote:

I find it a bit over the top too to have such a letter, so strongly worded, and signed by so many board chairs.

It reveals a divide between those who participated in the IdeaLab survey[1] and those who were at the Future of Wikimania session in Esino.

It would perhaps be interesting to see if correlations can be revealed as to what demographic of Wikimedian prefer 1 year per Wikimania and what demographic prefer 2 year per Wikimania - like geographical distribution, involvement in local Wikimedia groups (staff / board / other volunteer / not a participant), and past attendance at regional Wikimedia conferences and Wikimania.

[1] https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Grants:IdeaLab/Towards_a_New_Wikimania/Outcomes

Thank you. I find it confusing that the letter starts with "The chairpersons of the Wikimedia chapters state that Wikimania needs to be arranged every year," which implies that all of the chapter chairs are united in agreement, but it appears several chapters didn't sign the letter. Looking further at the content of the letter, I would have some questions about some of the statements that were made there. In the future, I would encourage chapter chairs to have discussions about matters such as this on the Affiliates mailing list so that we can have more inclusive discussions among more affiliates before sending letters like that. The Wikimania situation is already convoluted, and I believe that letters such as this should get fuller discussion among affiliates before they are sent to WMF.

Thanks,

Pine

On Jul 8, 2016 20:04, "Christophe Henner" <[hidden email]> wrote:

My bad I forgot it already is on meta https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia_chapters/Statements/Chapter_chairs_statement:_Wikimania_needs_to_be_arranged_every_year

Le 9 juil. 2016 4:50 AM, "Pine W" <[hidden email]> a écrit :

Thanks Christophe. I, for one, have had difficulty figuring out what is going on with Wikimania in regards to varying decisions in different parts of WMF and the community, so I look forward to the clarifications.

Personally I am currently neutral on the decision of whether to have annual Wikimanias, or alternate Wikimanias with years in which there is emphasis on national or regional conferences. My hunch is that some research about costs and benefits is needed so that we have reliable data about a variety of scenarios before making a decision.

Thanks again for working on this.

To the board chairs: I would be interested in seeing that letter. In the spirit of transparency, would you please publish it on Meta? As you know I am an advocate for much more transparency from WMF, and I would like for the affiliates to also to be transparent about governance matters such as this one.

Thanks,

Pine

On Jul 8, 2016 19:18, "Christophe Henner" <[hidden email]> wrote:

Hi everyone,

The same question was raised to the board a few days ago by chairs of Wikimedia organizations asking Foundation's board to make sure there's a comprehensive decision on this very topic. 

The chairs letter wasn't public, I let them share it on meta or here if they want to :)

First step, in my opinion, is to set expectations and define the scope (in the role of the event but also in the ressources (both human and financial) we commit to the event. 

Katherine is working with the staff to provide groundings.

Here is the answer I provided them with. 

----

Hi chairs!

First of all, thank you with the email, the feedback is clearly useful and raises interesting point. 

Now, the Wikimania discussion definitly is on the table. Living by what we said during Wikimania, we, as WMF, will make sure we end up with a clear answer to your questions but also to the different points you raise. 

Wikimania is an important time in our movement, but as you said it also comes with costs and challenges that we have to adress. Katherine is going to meet in the coming days with the staff in charge of that topic to start that discussion within WMF and provide groundings for a comprehensive decision. 

We will try to be as diligent as possible on that topic, but I would ask you to keep in mind that as we're in a transition phase and that might take a little more time than you could expect. 

Again thank you for your email, I love the fact that he raises issues but also includes the challenges we have to take care of :)

We'll get back to you as soon as possible to continue that discussion.

Have all a really great day / night :)

Christophe

While I concur with Coren’s conclusion, I’ll try to neutrally report on the events at Wikimania which led to this result. :)

Full disclosure: I’m a fan of Wikimania being yearly, and was asked to serve on the Wikimania Committee after Esino Lario. I was also the main moderator of the Wikimania 2016 session on the “Future of Wikimania.” These views are my own, and not anything official from the committee.

Background: Many folks (I’d say a majority) who I talked to in Esino Lario early in the conference thought that the decision to do Wikimania every other year was a done deal, as a result of the IdeaLab consultation. I told them that might not necessarily be so. The vote was close, not particularly widely known, and we could still be heard. Chris Schilling from the WMF, who oversaw the Idealab consultation, sought me out specifically at the start of the conference and to my delight, said that the consultation was “just another data point,” and that it was by no means the final word on things. Obviously, this was good news to people who were interested in keeping a yearly Wikimania.

I was scheduled to moderate the “Future of Wikimania” discussion session [1] at the very end of the conference, and encouraged people to let their views be heard. It was under these conditions that we entered into the final discussion room and I asked Chris Schilling to give an opening statement to the room. Most people were happy to hear him say that it was “just another data point.” During the discussion, there was overwhelming support to keep Wikimania going every year, which is not a surprise considering this was *at* Wikimania. I encourage folks to peruse the Etherpad notes, which are quite extensive and expertly done by several folks there.

Some views I’d highlight:
- Having yearly Wikimania is important to keep the momentum of the movement going, according to many
- A case for cancelling yearly Wikimania was to encourage/fund regional meetups. However, there is no guarantee that those regional meetups would actually take place, or that WMF would necessarily take the money saved from Wikimania to fund them. Some folks from Asia specifically said that there is weaker linguistic, cultural and geographic synergy for an “Asian” conference like there is in Europe and Africa, which is why it has been hard to do one.
- One person noted that one trip to Wikimania served the same role as several international trips to get the same benefit from meeting other Wikimedians/developers, so there are indeed cost efficiencies in having a central conference.


-Andrew Lih
Associate professor of journalism, American University
Email: [hidden email]
WEB: http://www.andrewlih.com
BOOK: The Wikipedia Revolution: http://www.wikipediarevolution.com
PROJECT: Wiki Makes Video http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:WikiProject_Wiki_Makes_Video

On Fri, Jul 8, 2016 at 10:18 AM, Marc-Andre <[hidden email]> wrote:
On 2016-07-08 10:01 AM, Chris Keating wrote:
Interestingly, I couldn't see any sign of the Committee's decision being informed by the WMF's consultation on the future of Wikimania, or anyone from the WMF's community engagement department being present.

Wikimania is, and always was, a community led and organized event. The WMF, as its traditional biggest sponsor[1], has a great deal of influence in the matter - but ultimately no decision power beyond "fund and resource or not".

The committee's decision has indeed taken into account the consultation you refer to - as well as the roundtable discussion on the "Future of Wikimania" that took place earlier[2].  Our evaluation, which is reflected in that resolution, is that the consultation was clearly flawed and that its conclusion does not reflect consensus - neither of the community members who organize nor of those who attend Wikimania.

-- Coren / Marc

[1] Although "underwrite" might be a better term - the WMF has pretty much shouldered the vast majority of the costs and given the most logistical support year in and year out.

[2] Where the consensus was to overwhelmingly reject that consultation's conclusion in favor or continuing with Wikimania as a yearly even given its irreplaceable role in our movement.

_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l


_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l


_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l


_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l


_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l


_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l


_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l



_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l



_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l



_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l



_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Wikimania - annually, with South Africa in 2018?

Gnangarra
In reply to this post by Pine W
Agree with the comments thats hard to measure the value of a Wikimania, and what an attendee will do with the experience. so here is my experience

My first Wikimania was 2012 in Washington DC, I was a little introspective and embroiled in an ARBCOM case I shared a room with Richard Farmbrough with whom I had a deep discussion about the case he gave me some amazing advice about that process it literally reenergises my efforts...  While doing so he recommended a session about QRpedia, a really interesting project.  Two months later I'm back home and still editing when an opportunity presents itself to propose a QRpedia project in Fremantle, that produced the first Wikitown in Australia.  The Freopedia project as it became known opened the door to another WikiTown project in Toodyay called Toodyaypedia,  Next minute I'm nominated for a State Heritage award for the work I've been doing through Wikipedia and the out reach projects that have improved coverage of Western Australian History more doors start to open.  I'm on a roll really energised and its rubbing off on the local community they willingly helping with every silly idea I try, so much so that I get nominated to be a committee member(Vice President no less) of the local chapter. London 2014 Wikimedia Australia pays for me to attend London where I give back to the community my experiences and share my experiences about WikiTowns/QRpedia(along with a few Tim Tams and Caramellow Koalas) in the community village. Also while in London I got to attended a pre-wikimania training session by WMUK that they offer to people doing outreach that was a wonderful experience and helped me improve the way I do outreach here,[side thought:that should be taken on the road to every chapter who does or wants to do outreach].   

I return even more enrgise and what to bring the Wikimania experience here where more even more people can benefit directly rather than just through my efforts. 2015 I'm presented with another opportunity to expand the projects happening here this time writing in an Indigenous Australian language and improving content about a subject area thats has been inadeqautely covered for the first 10years of wikipedia.  Along come an offer from WMF to attend Mexico I'm torn between my commitment to the Noongar Language work which included a workshop that coincided with Wikimania and the opportunity to attend my 3rd event, of course my commitment to the local project took precidence. The cost of that was not finding out about the changes to the Wikimania processes and spending a lot of time putting together a bid for Wikimania in Perth.  The benefit of the Noongarpedia project is that we now have the first Indigenous Australian language in the incubator, with a number of other communities watching and learning from our experiences, I just spent a week in Darwin which included talking with people there and walking them through that project. Somewhere in all of this I also became President of WMAu  and with it WMAu has had its most successful period, I like to think some that is because of the energy I have brought to the table from my experience at Wikimania.

One Australian once theorised about how WMF measures success and highlighted that the value is not in the physical numbers but in the intangible connections that are made, he even put forward a PEG proposal to demostrate that its the personal relationships that matter and how you build them that have the true impact.  Being isolated in Western Australia made for the perfect ground to develop such a project ironically it was declined because of the fact that the project lacked the generation of numbers which would make success measurable. 

We place too much emphasis on physical numbers to measure out comes yet we all know that education is more than just numbers and community development is about connections, energy and empowering others Wikimania does, that we just need to find the right boxes to tick.

[conflict with Riskers response, apologies if I over lap]


On 10 July 2016 at 09:50, Pine W <[hidden email]> wrote:
Hi Andrew and Leila,

There are quite a few ways of looking at the numbers (which is one reason that I'm hoping for a thorough analysis.) Please note that I think that conferences should happen; I am asking if this is the status quo is the optimal way of spending these funds. There are other ways of using funds for conferences that could be explored.

For example, if a Wikimania costs $600,000 and there are 1,000 attendees, that works out to a cost of $600 per attendee for 1000 people. Is that a wiser investment than spreading out the same funds among (hypothetically) 3,000 attendees at multiple national/regional conferences for an average expense of $200 per attendee? At this point I don't think any of us can answer that question.

The Wikimania-going population, especially the people who go to many WIkimanias, are a vanishingly small percentage of the overall WIkimedia population. They tend to be active, but there are plenty of active Wikimedians such as myself who have never been to Wikimania, although I'd like to go next year. Does it make sense to spend so much money on such a small percentage of our community? There are reasons to think that the answer could be yes; for example, if Wikimania motivates highly active contributors and leaders to keep up the good work. However, it's not clear that similarly good effects couldn't be achieved on a broader scale by spreading the funds among more numerous smaller conferences.

There is a good argument to be made that having lots of highly active contributors and project leaders from all over the world in the same place, and having WMF staff mix with them, is a good idea for purposes of improving communications and relationships. Generation of good PR press, and cross-pollination of ideas, are also important and I think that we should support those. However, similarly good outcomes might be achieved through multiple smaller conferences.

I'm in favor of continuing to spend funds on conferences; what I think that none of us know is whether our current model of a single large conference is "better" than multiple national/regional conferences.

Along the lines of Leila's suggestion, the idea of temporarily scaling up WMF's support for national/regional (or thematic) conferences while keeping Wikimania in place makes sense to me. That requires some willingness to spend the funds for both types of events for a few years. It's a bit of an expensive proposition though, and I'm wary of asking the WMF staff to spend more time traveling to more conferences. I guess I'm cautiously in favor of looking at this option if it's financially practical to scale up the support for focused conferences while maintaining support for Wikimania. Keep in mind that WMF Fundraising is worried about plateauing revenues, so we're working in a world of resource constraints and trying to do the best we can with what we've got.

I'm looking forward to hearing what Katherine and Christophe think. And with that, I'm afraid that I must depart this thread to attend to other matters. (: Thanks for the good conversation, everyone.

Pine

On Sat, Jul 9, 2016 at 6:37 PM, Leila Zia <[hidden email]> wrote:
Hi Pine,

On Sat, Jul 9, 2016 at 1:14 PM, Pine W <[hidden email]> wrote:
 
I'd also be interested in projections of total attendance and costs (including travel costs and staff time) for Wikimania vs. having more or expanded national and regional conferences.

But then there is the benefit (which is not fully captured by attendance that) we need to take into account, too, and that's where the main problem starts. It's relatively easy to measure the costs of conferences, it's very hard to measure their benefit for a variety of reasons, one of which, in our context, is that it's hard to assign price-tag to many of the projects the community and beyond drive, even if you can clearly link them to Wikimania (which is a problem on its own). And that's already the easier part of the benefit analysis. It can get way more complicated if we want to assign a price-tag to how much it's worth for each of us to learn more about others.

And now add to all the above, that you are suggesting that we do cost-benefit analysis for multiple conference models and compare them. Think about designing control experiments, considering the interactions between conferences (people who attend both vs. those who attend only one kind), etc.

I would not go down the path of cost-benefit analysis for a conference such as Wikimania. We will loose too much time and money and still the analysis will have so many questionable components.

​What industry and academic conferences usually do when they're in doubt is that they become bold and start a new conference but keep the original one in place. If the new conference attracts more audience, to the extent that at some point organizing the original conference doesn't make sense (too few attendees, lower quality abstract submissions, major people in the field moving to the new conference), then they gradually stop the original conference. It seems that following that approach would be more beneficial than questioning the usefulness of Wikimania without more extensively trying the other conference/meet-up types first and in parallel to Wikimania.

If WMF and the community are going to spend that much money every year on an annual conference, with the majority of that money coming from donors who give small-dollar amounts, I think that we need to think carefully and thoroughly about how we plan the conference (or conferences) to align with the goals of our donors and what we tell our donors.

​Two points to take into account here:

* Wikimania is a major and mature conference and it's fair to compare it to major academic conferences that I'm more familiar with. The cost of such conferences is usually quite higher than Wikimania, if you consider roughly the same attendance numbers. I would start worrying about the cost of Wikimania only if the cost goes much higher than the industry standard.

* I wouldn't recommend reconsidering how we plan for our major conferences based on what we tell our donors. We should define our needs and find a way to fund them.
 
Leila

--
Leila Zia
Research Scientist
Wikimedia Foundation


Pine

On Sat, Jul 9, 2016 at 12:50 PM, Deryck Chan <[hidden email]> wrote:

I find it a bit over the top too to have such a letter, so strongly worded, and signed by so many board chairs.

It reveals a divide between those who participated in the IdeaLab survey[1] and those who were at the Future of Wikimania session in Esino.

It would perhaps be interesting to see if correlations can be revealed as to what demographic of Wikimedian prefer 1 year per Wikimania and what demographic prefer 2 year per Wikimania - like geographical distribution, involvement in local Wikimedia groups (staff / board / other volunteer / not a participant), and past attendance at regional Wikimedia conferences and Wikimania.

[1] https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Grants:IdeaLab/Towards_a_New_Wikimania/Outcomes

Thank you. I find it confusing that the letter starts with "The chairpersons of the Wikimedia chapters state that Wikimania needs to be arranged every year," which implies that all of the chapter chairs are united in agreement, but it appears several chapters didn't sign the letter. Looking further at the content of the letter, I would have some questions about some of the statements that were made there. In the future, I would encourage chapter chairs to have discussions about matters such as this on the Affiliates mailing list so that we can have more inclusive discussions among more affiliates before sending letters like that. The Wikimania situation is already convoluted, and I believe that letters such as this should get fuller discussion among affiliates before they are sent to WMF.

Thanks,

Pine

On Jul 8, 2016 20:04, "Christophe Henner" <[hidden email]> wrote:

My bad I forgot it already is on meta https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia_chapters/Statements/Chapter_chairs_statement:_Wikimania_needs_to_be_arranged_every_year

Le 9 juil. 2016 4:50 AM, "Pine W" <[hidden email]> a écrit :

Thanks Christophe. I, for one, have had difficulty figuring out what is going on with Wikimania in regards to varying decisions in different parts of WMF and the community, so I look forward to the clarifications.

Personally I am currently neutral on the decision of whether to have annual Wikimanias, or alternate Wikimanias with years in which there is emphasis on national or regional conferences. My hunch is that some research about costs and benefits is needed so that we have reliable data about a variety of scenarios before making a decision.

Thanks again for working on this.

To the board chairs: I would be interested in seeing that letter. In the spirit of transparency, would you please publish it on Meta? As you know I am an advocate for much more transparency from WMF, and I would like for the affiliates to also to be transparent about governance matters such as this one.

Thanks,

Pine

On Jul 8, 2016 19:18, "Christophe Henner" <[hidden email]> wrote:

Hi everyone,

The same question was raised to the board a few days ago by chairs of Wikimedia organizations asking Foundation's board to make sure there's a comprehensive decision on this very topic. 

The chairs letter wasn't public, I let them share it on meta or here if they want to :)

First step, in my opinion, is to set expectations and define the scope (in the role of the event but also in the ressources (both human and financial) we commit to the event. 

Katherine is working with the staff to provide groundings.

Here is the answer I provided them with. 

----

Hi chairs!

First of all, thank you with the email, the feedback is clearly useful and raises interesting point. 

Now, the Wikimania discussion definitly is on the table. Living by what we said during Wikimania, we, as WMF, will make sure we end up with a clear answer to your questions but also to the different points you raise. 

Wikimania is an important time in our movement, but as you said it also comes with costs and challenges that we have to adress. Katherine is going to meet in the coming days with the staff in charge of that topic to start that discussion within WMF and provide groundings for a comprehensive decision. 

We will try to be as diligent as possible on that topic, but I would ask you to keep in mind that as we're in a transition phase and that might take a little more time than you could expect. 

Again thank you for your email, I love the fact that he raises issues but also includes the challenges we have to take care of :)

We'll get back to you as soon as possible to continue that discussion.

Have all a really great day / night :)

Christophe

While I concur with Coren’s conclusion, I’ll try to neutrally report on the events at Wikimania which led to this result. :)

Full disclosure: I’m a fan of Wikimania being yearly, and was asked to serve on the Wikimania Committee after Esino Lario. I was also the main moderator of the Wikimania 2016 session on the “Future of Wikimania.” These views are my own, and not anything official from the committee.

Background: Many folks (I’d say a majority) who I talked to in Esino Lario early in the conference thought that the decision to do Wikimania every other year was a done deal, as a result of the IdeaLab consultation. I told them that might not necessarily be so. The vote was close, not particularly widely known, and we could still be heard. Chris Schilling from the WMF, who oversaw the Idealab consultation, sought me out specifically at the start of the conference and to my delight, said that the consultation was “just another data point,” and that it was by no means the final word on things. Obviously, this was good news to people who were interested in keeping a yearly Wikimania.

I was scheduled to moderate the “Future of Wikimania” discussion session [1] at the very end of the conference, and encouraged people to let their views be heard. It was under these conditions that we entered into the final discussion room and I asked Chris Schilling to give an opening statement to the room. Most people were happy to hear him say that it was “just another data point.” During the discussion, there was overwhelming support to keep Wikimania going every year, which is not a surprise considering this was *at* Wikimania. I encourage folks to peruse the Etherpad notes, which are quite extensive and expertly done by several folks there.

Some views I’d highlight:
- Having yearly Wikimania is important to keep the momentum of the movement going, according to many
- A case for cancelling yearly Wikimania was to encourage/fund regional meetups. However, there is no guarantee that those regional meetups would actually take place, or that WMF would necessarily take the money saved from Wikimania to fund them. Some folks from Asia specifically said that there is weaker linguistic, cultural and geographic synergy for an “Asian” conference like there is in Europe and Africa, which is why it has been hard to do one.
- One person noted that one trip to Wikimania served the same role as several international trips to get the same benefit from meeting other Wikimedians/developers, so there are indeed cost efficiencies in having a central conference.


-Andrew Lih
Associate professor of journalism, American University
Email: [hidden email]
WEB: http://www.andrewlih.com
BOOK: The Wikipedia Revolution: http://www.wikipediarevolution.com
PROJECT: Wiki Makes Video http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:WikiProject_Wiki_Makes_Video

On Fri, Jul 8, 2016 at 10:18 AM, Marc-Andre <[hidden email]> wrote:
On 2016-07-08 10:01 AM, Chris Keating wrote:
Interestingly, I couldn't see any sign of the Committee's decision being informed by the WMF's consultation on the future of Wikimania, or anyone from the WMF's community engagement department being present.

Wikimania is, and always was, a community led and organized event. The WMF, as its traditional biggest sponsor[1], has a great deal of influence in the matter - but ultimately no decision power beyond "fund and resource or not".

The committee's decision has indeed taken into account the consultation you refer to - as well as the roundtable discussion on the "Future of Wikimania" that took place earlier[2].  Our evaluation, which is reflected in that resolution, is that the consultation was clearly flawed and that its conclusion does not reflect consensus - neither of the community members who organize nor of those who attend Wikimania.

-- Coren / Marc

[1] Although "underwrite" might be a better term - the WMF has pretty much shouldered the vast majority of the costs and given the most logistical support year in and year out.

[2] Where the consensus was to overwhelmingly reject that consultation's conclusion in favor or continuing with Wikimania as a yearly even given its irreplaceable role in our movement.

_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l


_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l


_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l


_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l


_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l


_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l


_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l



_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l



_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l



_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l




--
GN.
President Wikimedia Australia
WMAU: http://www.wikimedia.org.au/wiki/User:Gnangarra
Photo Gallery: http://gnangarra.redbubble.com


_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Wikimania - annually, with South Africa in 2018?

Christophe Henner-3

Hey,

So, as with everything, Wikimania is going through a process where we (as à group) will define if it pushes our mission forward or not.

First, WMF staff working so we can have the discussion with all the cards in our hands. Which is not the case now.

Second, what is Wikimania purposes? Right now I fear there is none clearly define.

Is it a community event?
Is it a knowledge sharing event?
Is it an outreaching event?
Is it a way to reward people?
...

One has to be define, a main one.

Then we will be able to talk about how it happens.

I have opinions but I rather keep them to myself until I have everything in hand. But I love Wikimania, and I want to know if it's the best format, and if it's not to fix it :)

Le 10 juil. 2016 4:37 AM, "Gnangarra" <[hidden email]> a écrit :
Agree with the comments thats hard to measure the value of a Wikimania, and what an attendee will do with the experience. so here is my experience

My first Wikimania was 2012 in Washington DC, I was a little introspective and embroiled in an ARBCOM case I shared a room with Richard Farmbrough with whom I had a deep discussion about the case he gave me some amazing advice about that process it literally reenergises my efforts...  While doing so he recommended a session about QRpedia, a really interesting project.  Two months later I'm back home and still editing when an opportunity presents itself to propose a QRpedia project in Fremantle, that produced the first Wikitown in Australia.  The Freopedia project as it became known opened the door to another WikiTown project in Toodyay called Toodyaypedia,  Next minute I'm nominated for a State Heritage award for the work I've been doing through Wikipedia and the out reach projects that have improved coverage of Western Australian History more doors start to open.  I'm on a roll really energised and its rubbing off on the local community they willingly helping with every silly idea I try, so much so that I get nominated to be a committee member(Vice President no less) of the local chapter. London 2014 Wikimedia Australia pays for me to attend London where I give back to the community my experiences and share my experiences about WikiTowns/QRpedia(along with a few Tim Tams and Caramellow Koalas) in the community village. Also while in London I got to attended a pre-wikimania training session by WMUK that they offer to people doing outreach that was a wonderful experience and helped me improve the way I do outreach here,[side thought:that should be taken on the road to every chapter who does or wants to do outreach].   

I return even more enrgise and what to bring the Wikimania experience here where more even more people can benefit directly rather than just through my efforts. 2015 I'm presented with another opportunity to expand the projects happening here this time writing in an Indigenous Australian language and improving content about a subject area thats has been inadeqautely covered for the first 10years of wikipedia.  Along come an offer from WMF to attend Mexico I'm torn between my commitment to the Noongar Language work which included a workshop that coincided with Wikimania and the opportunity to attend my 3rd event, of course my commitment to the local project took precidence. The cost of that was not finding out about the changes to the Wikimania processes and spending a lot of time putting together a bid for Wikimania in Perth.  The benefit of the Noongarpedia project is that we now have the first Indigenous Australian language in the incubator, with a number of other communities watching and learning from our experiences, I just spent a week in Darwin which included talking with people there and walking them through that project. Somewhere in all of this I also became President of WMAu  and with it WMAu has had its most successful period, I like to think some that is because of the energy I have brought to the table from my experience at Wikimania.

One Australian once theorised about how WMF measures success and highlighted that the value is not in the physical numbers but in the intangible connections that are made, he even put forward a PEG proposal to demostrate that its the personal relationships that matter and how you build them that have the true impact.  Being isolated in Western Australia made for the perfect ground to develop such a project ironically it was declined because of the fact that the project lacked the generation of numbers which would make success measurable. 

We place too much emphasis on physical numbers to measure out comes yet we all know that education is more than just numbers and community development is about connections, energy and empowering others Wikimania does, that we just need to find the right boxes to tick.

[conflict with Riskers response, apologies if I over lap]


On 10 July 2016 at 09:50, Pine W <[hidden email]> wrote:
Hi Andrew and Leila,

There are quite a few ways of looking at the numbers (which is one reason that I'm hoping for a thorough analysis.) Please note that I think that conferences should happen; I am asking if this is the status quo is the optimal way of spending these funds. There are other ways of using funds for conferences that could be explored.

For example, if a Wikimania costs $600,000 and there are 1,000 attendees, that works out to a cost of $600 per attendee for 1000 people. Is that a wiser investment than spreading out the same funds among (hypothetically) 3,000 attendees at multiple national/regional conferences for an average expense of $200 per attendee? At this point I don't think any of us can answer that question.

The Wikimania-going population, especially the people who go to many WIkimanias, are a vanishingly small percentage of the overall WIkimedia population. They tend to be active, but there are plenty of active Wikimedians such as myself who have never been to Wikimania, although I'd like to go next year. Does it make sense to spend so much money on such a small percentage of our community? There are reasons to think that the answer could be yes; for example, if Wikimania motivates highly active contributors and leaders to keep up the good work. However, it's not clear that similarly good effects couldn't be achieved on a broader scale by spreading the funds among more numerous smaller conferences.

There is a good argument to be made that having lots of highly active contributors and project leaders from all over the world in the same place, and having WMF staff mix with them, is a good idea for purposes of improving communications and relationships. Generation of good PR press, and cross-pollination of ideas, are also important and I think that we should support those. However, similarly good outcomes might be achieved through multiple smaller conferences.

I'm in favor of continuing to spend funds on conferences; what I think that none of us know is whether our current model of a single large conference is "better" than multiple national/regional conferences.

Along the lines of Leila's suggestion, the idea of temporarily scaling up WMF's support for national/regional (or thematic) conferences while keeping Wikimania in place makes sense to me. That requires some willingness to spend the funds for both types of events for a few years. It's a bit of an expensive proposition though, and I'm wary of asking the WMF staff to spend more time traveling to more conferences. I guess I'm cautiously in favor of looking at this option if it's financially practical to scale up the support for focused conferences while maintaining support for Wikimania. Keep in mind that WMF Fundraising is worried about plateauing revenues, so we're working in a world of resource constraints and trying to do the best we can with what we've got.

I'm looking forward to hearing what Katherine and Christophe think. And with that, I'm afraid that I must depart this thread to attend to other matters. (: Thanks for the good conversation, everyone.

Pine

On Sat, Jul 9, 2016 at 6:37 PM, Leila Zia <[hidden email]> wrote:
Hi Pine,

On Sat, Jul 9, 2016 at 1:14 PM, Pine W <[hidden email]> wrote:
 
I'd also be interested in projections of total attendance and costs (including travel costs and staff time) for Wikimania vs. having more or expanded national and regional conferences.

But then there is the benefit (which is not fully captured by attendance that) we need to take into account, too, and that's where the main problem starts. It's relatively easy to measure the costs of conferences, it's very hard to measure their benefit for a variety of reasons, one of which, in our context, is that it's hard to assign price-tag to many of the projects the community and beyond drive, even if you can clearly link them to Wikimania (which is a problem on its own). And that's already the easier part of the benefit analysis. It can get way more complicated if we want to assign a price-tag to how much it's worth for each of us to learn more about others.

And now add to all the above, that you are suggesting that we do cost-benefit analysis for multiple conference models and compare them. Think about designing control experiments, considering the interactions between conferences (people who attend both vs. those who attend only one kind), etc.

I would not go down the path of cost-benefit analysis for a conference such as Wikimania. We will loose too much time and money and still the analysis will have so many questionable components.

​What industry and academic conferences usually do when they're in doubt is that they become bold and start a new conference but keep the original one in place. If the new conference attracts more audience, to the extent that at some point organizing the original conference doesn't make sense (too few attendees, lower quality abstract submissions, major people in the field moving to the new conference), then they gradually stop the original conference. It seems that following that approach would be more beneficial than questioning the usefulness of Wikimania without more extensively trying the other conference/meet-up types first and in parallel to Wikimania.

If WMF and the community are going to spend that much money every year on an annual conference, with the majority of that money coming from donors who give small-dollar amounts, I think that we need to think carefully and thoroughly about how we plan the conference (or conferences) to align with the goals of our donors and what we tell our donors.

​Two points to take into account here:

* Wikimania is a major and mature conference and it's fair to compare it to major academic conferences that I'm more familiar with. The cost of such conferences is usually quite higher than Wikimania, if you consider roughly the same attendance numbers. I would start worrying about the cost of Wikimania only if the cost goes much higher than the industry standard.

* I wouldn't recommend reconsidering how we plan for our major conferences based on what we tell our donors. We should define our needs and find a way to fund them.
 
Leila

--
Leila Zia
Research Scientist
Wikimedia Foundation


Pine

On Sat, Jul 9, 2016 at 12:50 PM, Deryck Chan <[hidden email]> wrote:

I find it a bit over the top too to have such a letter, so strongly worded, and signed by so many board chairs.

It reveals a divide between those who participated in the IdeaLab survey[1] and those who were at the Future of Wikimania session in Esino.

It would perhaps be interesting to see if correlations can be revealed as to what demographic of Wikimedian prefer 1 year per Wikimania and what demographic prefer 2 year per Wikimania - like geographical distribution, involvement in local Wikimedia groups (staff / board / other volunteer / not a participant), and past attendance at regional Wikimedia conferences and Wikimania.

[1] https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Grants:IdeaLab/Towards_a_New_Wikimania/Outcomes

Thank you. I find it confusing that the letter starts with "The chairpersons of the Wikimedia chapters state that Wikimania needs to be arranged every year," which implies that all of the chapter chairs are united in agreement, but it appears several chapters didn't sign the letter. Looking further at the content of the letter, I would have some questions about some of the statements that were made there. In the future, I would encourage chapter chairs to have discussions about matters such as this on the Affiliates mailing list so that we can have more inclusive discussions among more affiliates before sending letters like that. The Wikimania situation is already convoluted, and I believe that letters such as this should get fuller discussion among affiliates before they are sent to WMF.

Thanks,

Pine

On Jul 8, 2016 20:04, "Christophe Henner" <[hidden email]> wrote:

My bad I forgot it already is on meta https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia_chapters/Statements/Chapter_chairs_statement:_Wikimania_needs_to_be_arranged_every_year

Le 9 juil. 2016 4:50 AM, "Pine W" <[hidden email]> a écrit :

Thanks Christophe. I, for one, have had difficulty figuring out what is going on with Wikimania in regards to varying decisions in different parts of WMF and the community, so I look forward to the clarifications.

Personally I am currently neutral on the decision of whether to have annual Wikimanias, or alternate Wikimanias with years in which there is emphasis on national or regional conferences. My hunch is that some research about costs and benefits is needed so that we have reliable data about a variety of scenarios before making a decision.

Thanks again for working on this.

To the board chairs: I would be interested in seeing that letter. In the spirit of transparency, would you please publish it on Meta? As you know I am an advocate for much more transparency from WMF, and I would like for the affiliates to also to be transparent about governance matters such as this one.

Thanks,

Pine

On Jul 8, 2016 19:18, "Christophe Henner" <[hidden email]> wrote:

Hi everyone,

The same question was raised to the board a few days ago by chairs of Wikimedia organizations asking Foundation's board to make sure there's a comprehensive decision on this very topic. 

The chairs letter wasn't public, I let them share it on meta or here if they want to :)

First step, in my opinion, is to set expectations and define the scope (in the role of the event but also in the ressources (both human and financial) we commit to the event. 

Katherine is working with the staff to provide groundings.

Here is the answer I provided them with. 

----

Hi chairs!

First of all, thank you with the email, the feedback is clearly useful and raises interesting point. 

Now, the Wikimania discussion definitly is on the table. Living by what we said during Wikimania, we, as WMF, will make sure we end up with a clear answer to your questions but also to the different points you raise. 

Wikimania is an important time in our movement, but as you said it also comes with costs and challenges that we have to adress. Katherine is going to meet in the coming days with the staff in charge of that topic to start that discussion within WMF and provide groundings for a comprehensive decision. 

We will try to be as diligent as possible on that topic, but I would ask you to keep in mind that as we're in a transition phase and that might take a little more time than you could expect. 

Again thank you for your email, I love the fact that he raises issues but also includes the challenges we have to take care of :)

We'll get back to you as soon as possible to continue that discussion.

Have all a really great day / night :)

Christophe

While I concur with Coren’s conclusion, I’ll try to neutrally report on the events at Wikimania which led to this result. :)

Full disclosure: I’m a fan of Wikimania being yearly, and was asked to serve on the Wikimania Committee after Esino Lario. I was also the main moderator of the Wikimania 2016 session on the “Future of Wikimania.” These views are my own, and not anything official from the committee.

Background: Many folks (I’d say a majority) who I talked to in Esino Lario early in the conference thought that the decision to do Wikimania every other year was a done deal, as a result of the IdeaLab consultation. I told them that might not necessarily be so. The vote was close, not particularly widely known, and we could still be heard. Chris Schilling from the WMF, who oversaw the Idealab consultation, sought me out specifically at the start of the conference and to my delight, said that the consultation was “just another data point,” and that it was by no means the final word on things. Obviously, this was good news to people who were interested in keeping a yearly Wikimania.

I was scheduled to moderate the “Future of Wikimania” discussion session [1] at the very end of the conference, and encouraged people to let their views be heard. It was under these conditions that we entered into the final discussion room and I asked Chris Schilling to give an opening statement to the room. Most people were happy to hear him say that it was “just another data point.” During the discussion, there was overwhelming support to keep Wikimania going every year, which is not a surprise considering this was *at* Wikimania. I encourage folks to peruse the Etherpad notes, which are quite extensive and expertly done by several folks there.

Some views I’d highlight:
- Having yearly Wikimania is important to keep the momentum of the movement going, according to many
- A case for cancelling yearly Wikimania was to encourage/fund regional meetups. However, there is no guarantee that those regional meetups would actually take place, or that WMF would necessarily take the money saved from Wikimania to fund them. Some folks from Asia specifically said that there is weaker linguistic, cultural and geographic synergy for an “Asian” conference like there is in Europe and Africa, which is why it has been hard to do one.
- One person noted that one trip to Wikimania served the same role as several international trips to get the same benefit from meeting other Wikimedians/developers, so there are indeed cost efficiencies in having a central conference.


-Andrew Lih
Associate professor of journalism, American University
Email: [hidden email]
WEB: http://www.andrewlih.com
BOOK: The Wikipedia Revolution: http://www.wikipediarevolution.com
PROJECT: Wiki Makes Video http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:WikiProject_Wiki_Makes_Video

On Fri, Jul 8, 2016 at 10:18 AM, Marc-Andre <[hidden email]> wrote:
On 2016-07-08 10:01 AM, Chris Keating wrote:
Interestingly, I couldn't see any sign of the Committee's decision being informed by the WMF's consultation on the future of Wikimania, or anyone from the WMF's community engagement department being present.

Wikimania is, and always was, a community led and organized event. The WMF, as its traditional biggest sponsor[1], has a great deal of influence in the matter - but ultimately no decision power beyond "fund and resource or not".

The committee's decision has indeed taken into account the consultation you refer to - as well as the roundtable discussion on the "Future of Wikimania" that took place earlier[2].  Our evaluation, which is reflected in that resolution, is that the consultation was clearly flawed and that its conclusion does not reflect consensus - neither of the community members who organize nor of those who attend Wikimania.

-- Coren / Marc

[1] Although "underwrite" might be a better term - the WMF has pretty much shouldered the vast majority of the costs and given the most logistical support year in and year out.

[2] Where the consensus was to overwhelmingly reject that consultation's conclusion in favor or continuing with Wikimania as a yearly even given its irreplaceable role in our movement.

_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l


_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l


_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l


_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l


_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l


_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l


_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l



_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l



_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l



_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l




--
GN.
President Wikimedia Australia
WMAU: http://www.wikimedia.org.au/wiki/User:Gnangarra
Photo Gallery: http://gnangarra.redbubble.com


_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l


_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Wikimania - annually, with South Africa in 2018?

Gnangarra
Is it a community event?
Is it a knowledge sharing event?
Is it an outreaching event?
Is it a way to reward people?

​The answer to these four are yes
  • ​Yes its a community event, one that brings people together and empowers them
  • Yes it where we share  the lessons of our successes and failures​

  • Yes reaches out to local region, especially GLAM for them to see what can be achieved, it also attracts a media profile and put the ED, Borad and others within reach of potential sponsors
  • Yes the scholarship process has an element of reward for participation in that it requires people to be sufficiently active to be considered
 


On 10 July 2016 at 14:05, Christophe Henner <[hidden email]> wrote:

Hey,

So, as with everything, Wikimania is going through a process where we (as à group) will define if it pushes our mission forward or not.

First, WMF staff working so we can have the discussion with all the cards in our hands. Which is not the case now.

Second, what is Wikimania purposes? Right now I fear there is none clearly define.

Is it a community event?
Is it a knowledge sharing event?
Is it an outreaching event?
Is it a way to reward people?
...

One has to be define, a main one.

Then we will be able to talk about how it happens.

I have opinions but I rather keep them to myself until I have everything in hand. But I love Wikimania, and I want to know if it's the best format, and if it's not to fix it :)

Le 10 juil. 2016 4:37 AM, "Gnangarra" <[hidden email]> a écrit :
Agree with the comments thats hard to measure the value of a Wikimania, and what an attendee will do with the experience. so here is my experience

My first Wikimania was 2012 in Washington DC, I was a little introspective and embroiled in an ARBCOM case I shared a room with Richard Farmbrough with whom I had a deep discussion about the case he gave me some amazing advice about that process it literally reenergises my efforts...  While doing so he recommended a session about QRpedia, a really interesting project.  Two months later I'm back home and still editing when an opportunity presents itself to propose a QRpedia project in Fremantle, that produced the first Wikitown in Australia.  The Freopedia project as it became known opened the door to another WikiTown project in Toodyay called Toodyaypedia,  Next minute I'm nominated for a State Heritage award for the work I've been doing through Wikipedia and the out reach projects that have improved coverage of Western Australian History more doors start to open.  I'm on a roll really energised and its rubbing off on the local community they willingly helping with every silly idea I try, so much so that I get nominated to be a committee member(Vice President no less) of the local chapter. London 2014 Wikimedia Australia pays for me to attend London where I give back to the community my experiences and share my experiences about WikiTowns/QRpedia(along with a few Tim Tams and Caramellow Koalas) in the community village. Also while in London I got to attended a pre-wikimania training session by WMUK that they offer to people doing outreach that was a wonderful experience and helped me improve the way I do outreach here,[side thought:that should be taken on the road to every chapter who does or wants to do outreach].   

I return even more enrgise and what to bring the Wikimania experience here where more even more people can benefit directly rather than just through my efforts. 2015 I'm presented with another opportunity to expand the projects happening here this time writing in an Indigenous Australian language and improving content about a subject area thats has been inadeqautely covered for the first 10years of wikipedia.  Along come an offer from WMF to attend Mexico I'm torn between my commitment to the Noongar Language work which included a workshop that coincided with Wikimania and the opportunity to attend my 3rd event, of course my commitment to the local project took precidence. The cost of that was not finding out about the changes to the Wikimania processes and spending a lot of time putting together a bid for Wikimania in Perth.  The benefit of the Noongarpedia project is that we now have the first Indigenous Australian language in the incubator, with a number of other communities watching and learning from our experiences, I just spent a week in Darwin which included talking with people there and walking them through that project. Somewhere in all of this I also became President of WMAu  and with it WMAu has had its most successful period, I like to think some that is because of the energy I have brought to the table from my experience at Wikimania.

One Australian once theorised about how WMF measures success and highlighted that the value is not in the physical numbers but in the intangible connections that are made, he even put forward a PEG proposal to demostrate that its the personal relationships that matter and how you build them that have the true impact.  Being isolated in Western Australia made for the perfect ground to develop such a project ironically it was declined because of the fact that the project lacked the generation of numbers which would make success measurable. 

We place too much emphasis on physical numbers to measure out comes yet we all know that education is more than just numbers and community development is about connections, energy and empowering others Wikimania does, that we just need to find the right boxes to tick.

[conflict with Riskers response, apologies if I over lap]


On 10 July 2016 at 09:50, Pine W <[hidden email]> wrote:
Hi Andrew and Leila,

There are quite a few ways of looking at the numbers (which is one reason that I'm hoping for a thorough analysis.) Please note that I think that conferences should happen; I am asking if this is the status quo is the optimal way of spending these funds. There are other ways of using funds for conferences that could be explored.

For example, if a Wikimania costs $600,000 and there are 1,000 attendees, that works out to a cost of $600 per attendee for 1000 people. Is that a wiser investment than spreading out the same funds among (hypothetically) 3,000 attendees at multiple national/regional conferences for an average expense of $200 per attendee? At this point I don't think any of us can answer that question.

The Wikimania-going population, especially the people who go to many WIkimanias, are a vanishingly small percentage of the overall WIkimedia population. They tend to be active, but there are plenty of active Wikimedians such as myself who have never been to Wikimania, although I'd like to go next year. Does it make sense to spend so much money on such a small percentage of our community? There are reasons to think that the answer could be yes; for example, if Wikimania motivates highly active contributors and leaders to keep up the good work. However, it's not clear that similarly good effects couldn't be achieved on a broader scale by spreading the funds among more numerous smaller conferences.

There is a good argument to be made that having lots of highly active contributors and project leaders from all over the world in the same place, and having WMF staff mix with them, is a good idea for purposes of improving communications and relationships. Generation of good PR press, and cross-pollination of ideas, are also important and I think that we should support those. However, similarly good outcomes might be achieved through multiple smaller conferences.

I'm in favor of continuing to spend funds on conferences; what I think that none of us know is whether our current model of a single large conference is "better" than multiple national/regional conferences.

Along the lines of Leila's suggestion, the idea of temporarily scaling up WMF's support for national/regional (or thematic) conferences while keeping Wikimania in place makes sense to me. That requires some willingness to spend the funds for both types of events for a few years. It's a bit of an expensive proposition though, and I'm wary of asking the WMF staff to spend more time traveling to more conferences. I guess I'm cautiously in favor of looking at this option if it's financially practical to scale up the support for focused conferences while maintaining support for Wikimania. Keep in mind that WMF Fundraising is worried about plateauing revenues, so we're working in a world of resource constraints and trying to do the best we can with what we've got.

I'm looking forward to hearing what Katherine and Christophe think. And with that, I'm afraid that I must depart this thread to attend to other matters. (: Thanks for the good conversation, everyone.

Pine

On Sat, Jul 9, 2016 at 6:37 PM, Leila Zia <[hidden email]> wrote:
Hi Pine,

On Sat, Jul 9, 2016 at 1:14 PM, Pine W <[hidden email]> wrote:
 
I'd also be interested in projections of total attendance and costs (including travel costs and staff time) for Wikimania vs. having more or expanded national and regional conferences.

But then there is the benefit (which is not fully captured by attendance that) we need to take into account, too, and that's where the main problem starts. It's relatively easy to measure the costs of conferences, it's very hard to measure their benefit for a variety of reasons, one of which, in our context, is that it's hard to assign price-tag to many of the projects the community and beyond drive, even if you can clearly link them to Wikimania (which is a problem on its own). And that's already the easier part of the benefit analysis. It can get way more complicated if we want to assign a price-tag to how much it's worth for each of us to learn more about others.

And now add to all the above, that you are suggesting that we do cost-benefit analysis for multiple conference models and compare them. Think about designing control experiments, considering the interactions between conferences (people who attend both vs. those who attend only one kind), etc.

I would not go down the path of cost-benefit analysis for a conference such as Wikimania. We will loose too much time and money and still the analysis will have so many questionable components.

​What industry and academic conferences usually do when they're in doubt is that they become bold and start a new conference but keep the original one in place. If the new conference attracts more audience, to the extent that at some point organizing the original conference doesn't make sense (too few attendees, lower quality abstract submissions, major people in the field moving to the new conference), then they gradually stop the original conference. It seems that following that approach would be more beneficial than questioning the usefulness of Wikimania without more extensively trying the other conference/meet-up types first and in parallel to Wikimania.

If WMF and the community are going to spend that much money every year on an annual conference, with the majority of that money coming from donors who give small-dollar amounts, I think that we need to think carefully and thoroughly about how we plan the conference (or conferences) to align with the goals of our donors and what we tell our donors.

​Two points to take into account here:

* Wikimania is a major and mature conference and it's fair to compare it to major academic conferences that I'm more familiar with. The cost of such conferences is usually quite higher than Wikimania, if you consider roughly the same attendance numbers. I would start worrying about the cost of Wikimania only if the cost goes much higher than the industry standard.

* I wouldn't recommend reconsidering how we plan for our major conferences based on what we tell our donors. We should define our needs and find a way to fund them.
 
Leila

--
Leila Zia
Research Scientist
Wikimedia Foundation


Pine

On Sat, Jul 9, 2016 at 12:50 PM, Deryck Chan <[hidden email]> wrote:

I find it a bit over the top too to have such a letter, so strongly worded, and signed by so many board chairs.

It reveals a divide between those who participated in the IdeaLab survey[1] and those who were at the Future of Wikimania session in Esino.

It would perhaps be interesting to see if correlations can be revealed as to what demographic of Wikimedian prefer 1 year per Wikimania and what demographic prefer 2 year per Wikimania - like geographical distribution, involvement in local Wikimedia groups (staff / board / other volunteer / not a participant), and past attendance at regional Wikimedia conferences and Wikimania.

[1] https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Grants:IdeaLab/Towards_a_New_Wikimania/Outcomes

Thank you. I find it confusing that the letter starts with "The chairpersons of the Wikimedia chapters state that Wikimania needs to be arranged every year," which implies that all of the chapter chairs are united in agreement, but it appears several chapters didn't sign the letter. Looking further at the content of the letter, I would have some questions about some of the statements that were made there. In the future, I would encourage chapter chairs to have discussions about matters such as this on the Affiliates mailing list so that we can have more inclusive discussions among more affiliates before sending letters like that. The Wikimania situation is already convoluted, and I believe that letters such as this should get fuller discussion among affiliates before they are sent to WMF.

Thanks,

Pine

On Jul 8, 2016 20:04, "Christophe Henner" <[hidden email]> wrote:

My bad I forgot it already is on meta https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia_chapters/Statements/Chapter_chairs_statement:_Wikimania_needs_to_be_arranged_every_year

Le 9 juil. 2016 4:50 AM, "Pine W" <[hidden email]> a écrit :

Thanks Christophe. I, for one, have had difficulty figuring out what is going on with Wikimania in regards to varying decisions in different parts of WMF and the community, so I look forward to the clarifications.

Personally I am currently neutral on the decision of whether to have annual Wikimanias, or alternate Wikimanias with years in which there is emphasis on national or regional conferences. My hunch is that some research about costs and benefits is needed so that we have reliable data about a variety of scenarios before making a decision.

Thanks again for working on this.

To the board chairs: I would be interested in seeing that letter. In the spirit of transparency, would you please publish it on Meta? As you know I am an advocate for much more transparency from WMF, and I would like for the affiliates to also to be transparent about governance matters such as this one.

Thanks,

Pine

On Jul 8, 2016 19:18, "Christophe Henner" <[hidden email]> wrote:

Hi everyone,

The same question was raised to the board a few days ago by chairs of Wikimedia organizations asking Foundation's board to make sure there's a comprehensive decision on this very topic. 

The chairs letter wasn't public, I let them share it on meta or here if they want to :)

First step, in my opinion, is to set expectations and define the scope (in the role of the event but also in the ressources (both human and financial) we commit to the event. 

Katherine is working with the staff to provide groundings.

Here is the answer I provided them with. 

----

Hi chairs!

First of all, thank you with the email, the feedback is clearly useful and raises interesting point. 

Now, the Wikimania discussion definitly is on the table. Living by what we said during Wikimania, we, as WMF, will make sure we end up with a clear answer to your questions but also to the different points you raise. 

Wikimania is an important time in our movement, but as you said it also comes with costs and challenges that we have to adress. Katherine is going to meet in the coming days with the staff in charge of that topic to start that discussion within WMF and provide groundings for a comprehensive decision. 

We will try to be as diligent as possible on that topic, but I would ask you to keep in mind that as we're in a transition phase and that might take a little more time than you could expect. 

Again thank you for your email, I love the fact that he raises issues but also includes the challenges we have to take care of :)

We'll get back to you as soon as possible to continue that discussion.

Have all a really great day / night :)

Christophe

While I concur with Coren’s conclusion, I’ll try to neutrally report on the events at Wikimania which led to this result. :)

Full disclosure: I’m a fan of Wikimania being yearly, and was asked to serve on the Wikimania Committee after Esino Lario. I was also the main moderator of the Wikimania 2016 session on the “Future of Wikimania.” These views are my own, and not anything official from the committee.

Background: Many folks (I’d say a majority) who I talked to in Esino Lario early in the conference thought that the decision to do Wikimania every other year was a done deal, as a result of the IdeaLab consultation. I told them that might not necessarily be so. The vote was close, not particularly widely known, and we could still be heard. Chris Schilling from the WMF, who oversaw the Idealab consultation, sought me out specifically at the start of the conference and to my delight, said that the consultation was “just another data point,” and that it was by no means the final word on things. Obviously, this was good news to people who were interested in keeping a yearly Wikimania.

I was scheduled to moderate the “Future of Wikimania” discussion session [1] at the very end of the conference, and encouraged people to let their views be heard. It was under these conditions that we entered into the final discussion room and I asked Chris Schilling to give an opening statement to the room. Most people were happy to hear him say that it was “just another data point.” During the discussion, there was overwhelming support to keep Wikimania going every year, which is not a surprise considering this was *at* Wikimania. I encourage folks to peruse the Etherpad notes, which are quite extensive and expertly done by several folks there.

Some views I’d highlight:
- Having yearly Wikimania is important to keep the momentum of the movement going, according to many
- A case for cancelling yearly Wikimania was to encourage/fund regional meetups. However, there is no guarantee that those regional meetups would actually take place, or that WMF would necessarily take the money saved from Wikimania to fund them. Some folks from Asia specifically said that there is weaker linguistic, cultural and geographic synergy for an “Asian” conference like there is in Europe and Africa, which is why it has been hard to do one.
- One person noted that one trip to Wikimania served the same role as several international trips to get the same benefit from meeting other Wikimedians/developers, so there are indeed cost efficiencies in having a central conference.


-Andrew Lih
Associate professor of journalism, American University
Email: [hidden email]
WEB: http://www.andrewlih.com
BOOK: The Wikipedia Revolution: http://www.wikipediarevolution.com
PROJECT: Wiki Makes Video http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:WikiProject_Wiki_Makes_Video

On Fri, Jul 8, 2016 at 10:18 AM, Marc-Andre <[hidden email]> wrote:
On 2016-07-08 10:01 AM, Chris Keating wrote:
Interestingly, I couldn't see any sign of the Committee's decision being informed by the WMF's consultation on the future of Wikimania, or anyone from the WMF's community engagement department being present.

Wikimania is, and always was, a community led and organized event. The WMF, as its traditional biggest sponsor[1], has a great deal of influence in the matter - but ultimately no decision power beyond "fund and resource or not".

The committee's decision has indeed taken into account the consultation you refer to - as well as the roundtable discussion on the "Future of Wikimania" that took place earlier[2].  Our evaluation, which is reflected in that resolution, is that the consultation was clearly flawed and that its conclusion does not reflect consensus - neither of the community members who organize nor of those who attend Wikimania.

-- Coren / Marc

[1] Although "underwrite" might be a better term - the WMF has pretty much shouldered the vast majority of the costs and given the most logistical support year in and year out.

[2] Where the consensus was to overwhelmingly reject that consultation's conclusion in favor or continuing with Wikimania as a yearly even given its irreplaceable role in our movement.

_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l


_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l


_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l


_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l


_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l


_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l


_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l



_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l



_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l



_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l




--
GN.
President Wikimedia Australia
WMAU: http://www.wikimedia.org.au/wiki/User:Gnangarra
Photo Gallery: http://gnangarra.redbubble.com


_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l


_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l




--
GN.
President Wikimedia Australia
WMAU: http://www.wikimedia.org.au/wiki/User:Gnangarra
Photo Gallery: http://gnangarra.redbubble.com


_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Wikimania - annually, with South Africa in 2018?

rupert THURNER-2
On Sun, Jul 10, 2016 at 8:22 AM, Gnangarra <[hidden email]> wrote:
Is it a community event?
Is it a knowledge sharing event?
Is it an outreaching event?
Is it a way to reward people?

​The answer to these four are yes
  • ​Yes its a community event, one that brings people together and empowers them
  • Yes it where we share  the lessons of our successes and failures​

  • Yes reaches out to local region, especially GLAM for them to see what can be achieved, it also attracts a media profile and put the ED, Borad and others within reach of potential sponsors
  • Yes the scholarship process has an element of reward for participation in that it requires people to be sufficiently active to be considered
 



So, as with everything, Wikimania is going through a process where we (as à group) will define if it pushes our mission forward or not.

First, WMF staff working so we can have the discussion with all the cards in our hands. Which is not the case now.

Second, what is Wikimania purposes? Right now I fear there is none clearly define.

Is it a community event?
Is it a knowledge sharing event?
Is it an outreaching event?
Is it a way to reward people?
... because

One has to be define, a main one.

its a community event for contributing persons, imo. maybe its better to elaborate a little instead of just puting a +1 to what gnangarra wrote.

i was only at one wikimania in my lifetime, in israel, and met maybe 5 persons there. while recalling any of the talks given or decisions made in detail is difficult i am sure  it is well documented to look it up if needed. as time is precious i could make it, and having this yearly gives an opportunity more often.

i do consider the personal relations gained from the few real life meetings i attended at the core of all wikipedia work. wikimania is part of this ecosystem. the personal relations lasted. even more important, understanding others challenges, sucking in experiences even from remote parts of the world, and with it the feeling to be part of a global movement.

so yes, i see it as a community event. to put it harsh, maybe with a german cultural context: there is no point to be a subsidized travel agency to make the same people attend every year, as well as make persons attend who do not contribute.

rupert


_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Wikimania - annually, with South Africa in 2018?

Christophe Henner-3
In reply to this post by Gnangarra

One goal :) you always side effects.

If the goal is to be a community event why don't we don't we do a huge event every 4 years where we fly in every single editors? Instead of doing 4 Wikimanias.

That is why setting expections and goal is key, so then we can make decisions.

We're talking about financial ressources what about the time spent by volunteers?

My point being, Wikimania is a great event and has costs and setting expectations will allow us to make better decisions. Perhaps, as Andrew says, will end up saying we should spend twice what we're spending because it is key or perhaps half of what we're spending.

Is it a community event?
Is it a knowledge sharing event?
Is it an outreaching event?
Is it a way to reward people?

​The answer to these four are yes
  • ​Yes its a community event, one that brings people together and empowers them
  • Yes it where we share  the lessons of our successes and failures​

  • Yes reaches out to local region, especially GLAM for them to see what can be achieved, it also attracts a media profile and put the ED, Borad and others within reach of potential sponsors
  • Yes the scholarship process has an element of reward for participation in that it requires people to be sufficiently active to be considered
 


On 10 July 2016 at 14:05, Christophe Henner <[hidden email]> wrote:

Hey,

So, as with everything, Wikimania is going through a process where we (as à group) will define if it pushes our mission forward or not.

First, WMF staff working so we can have the discussion with all the cards in our hands. Which is not the case now.

Second, what is Wikimania purposes? Right now I fear there is none clearly define.

Is it a community event?
Is it a knowledge sharing event?
Is it an outreaching event?
Is it a way to reward people?
...

One has to be define, a main one.

Then we will be able to talk about how it happens.

I have opinions but I rather keep them to myself until I have everything in hand. But I love Wikimania, and I want to know if it's the best format, and if it's not to fix it :)

Le 10 juil. 2016 4:37 AM, "Gnangarra" <[hidden email]> a écrit :
Agree with the comments thats hard to measure the value of a Wikimania, and what an attendee will do with the experience. so here is my experience

My first Wikimania was 2012 in Washington DC, I was a little introspective and embroiled in an ARBCOM case I shared a room with Richard Farmbrough with whom I had a deep discussion about the case he gave me some amazing advice about that process it literally reenergises my efforts...  While doing so he recommended a session about QRpedia, a really interesting project.  Two months later I'm back home and still editing when an opportunity presents itself to propose a QRpedia project in Fremantle, that produced the first Wikitown in Australia.  The Freopedia project as it became known opened the door to another WikiTown project in Toodyay called Toodyaypedia,  Next minute I'm nominated for a State Heritage award for the work I've been doing through Wikipedia and the out reach projects that have improved coverage of Western Australian History more doors start to open.  I'm on a roll really energised and its rubbing off on the local community they willingly helping with every silly idea I try, so much so that I get nominated to be a committee member(Vice President no less) of the local chapter. London 2014 Wikimedia Australia pays for me to attend London where I give back to the community my experiences and share my experiences about WikiTowns/QRpedia(along with a few Tim Tams and Caramellow Koalas) in the community village. Also while in London I got to attended a pre-wikimania training session by WMUK that they offer to people doing outreach that was a wonderful experience and helped me improve the way I do outreach here,[side thought:that should be taken on the road to every chapter who does or wants to do outreach].   

I return even more enrgise and what to bring the Wikimania experience here where more even more people can benefit directly rather than just through my efforts. 2015 I'm presented with another opportunity to expand the projects happening here this time writing in an Indigenous Australian language and improving content about a subject area thats has been inadeqautely covered for the first 10years of wikipedia.  Along come an offer from WMF to attend Mexico I'm torn between my commitment to the Noongar Language work which included a workshop that coincided with Wikimania and the opportunity to attend my 3rd event, of course my commitment to the local project took precidence. The cost of that was not finding out about the changes to the Wikimania processes and spending a lot of time putting together a bid for Wikimania in Perth.  The benefit of the Noongarpedia project is that we now have the first Indigenous Australian language in the incubator, with a number of other communities watching and learning from our experiences, I just spent a week in Darwin which included talking with people there and walking them through that project. Somewhere in all of this I also became President of WMAu  and with it WMAu has had its most successful period, I like to think some that is because of the energy I have brought to the table from my experience at Wikimania.

One Australian once theorised about how WMF measures success and highlighted that the value is not in the physical numbers but in the intangible connections that are made, he even put forward a PEG proposal to demostrate that its the personal relationships that matter and how you build them that have the true impact.  Being isolated in Western Australia made for the perfect ground to develop such a project ironically it was declined because of the fact that the project lacked the generation of numbers which would make success measurable. 

We place too much emphasis on physical numbers to measure out comes yet we all know that education is more than just numbers and community development is about connections, energy and empowering others Wikimania does, that we just need to find the right boxes to tick.

[conflict with Riskers response, apologies if I over lap]


On 10 July 2016 at 09:50, Pine W <[hidden email]> wrote:
Hi Andrew and Leila,

There are quite a few ways of looking at the numbers (which is one reason that I'm hoping for a thorough analysis.) Please note that I think that conferences should happen; I am asking if this is the status quo is the optimal way of spending these funds. There are other ways of using funds for conferences that could be explored.

For example, if a Wikimania costs $600,000 and there are 1,000 attendees, that works out to a cost of $600 per attendee for 1000 people. Is that a wiser investment than spreading out the same funds among (hypothetically) 3,000 attendees at multiple national/regional conferences for an average expense of $200 per attendee? At this point I don't think any of us can answer that question.

The Wikimania-going population, especially the people who go to many WIkimanias, are a vanishingly small percentage of the overall WIkimedia population. They tend to be active, but there are plenty of active Wikimedians such as myself who have never been to Wikimania, although I'd like to go next year. Does it make sense to spend so much money on such a small percentage of our community? There are reasons to think that the answer could be yes; for example, if Wikimania motivates highly active contributors and leaders to keep up the good work. However, it's not clear that similarly good effects couldn't be achieved on a broader scale by spreading the funds among more numerous smaller conferences.

There is a good argument to be made that having lots of highly active contributors and project leaders from all over the world in the same place, and having WMF staff mix with them, is a good idea for purposes of improving communications and relationships. Generation of good PR press, and cross-pollination of ideas, are also important and I think that we should support those. However, similarly good outcomes might be achieved through multiple smaller conferences.

I'm in favor of continuing to spend funds on conferences; what I think that none of us know is whether our current model of a single large conference is "better" than multiple national/regional conferences.

Along the lines of Leila's suggestion, the idea of temporarily scaling up WMF's support for national/regional (or thematic) conferences while keeping Wikimania in place makes sense to me. That requires some willingness to spend the funds for both types of events for a few years. It's a bit of an expensive proposition though, and I'm wary of asking the WMF staff to spend more time traveling to more conferences. I guess I'm cautiously in favor of looking at this option if it's financially practical to scale up the support for focused conferences while maintaining support for Wikimania. Keep in mind that WMF Fundraising is worried about plateauing revenues, so we're working in a world of resource constraints and trying to do the best we can with what we've got.

I'm looking forward to hearing what Katherine and Christophe think. And with that, I'm afraid that I must depart this thread to attend to other matters. (: Thanks for the good conversation, everyone.

Pine

On Sat, Jul 9, 2016 at 6:37 PM, Leila Zia <[hidden email]> wrote:
Hi Pine,

On Sat, Jul 9, 2016 at 1:14 PM, Pine W <[hidden email]> wrote:
 
I'd also be interested in projections of total attendance and costs (including travel costs and staff time) for Wikimania vs. having more or expanded national and regional conferences.

But then there is the benefit (which is not fully captured by attendance that) we need to take into account, too, and that's where the main problem starts. It's relatively easy to measure the costs of conferences, it's very hard to measure their benefit for a variety of reasons, one of which, in our context, is that it's hard to assign price-tag to many of the projects the community and beyond drive, even if you can clearly link them to Wikimania (which is a problem on its own). And that's already the easier part of the benefit analysis. It can get way more complicated if we want to assign a price-tag to how much it's worth for each of us to learn more about others.

And now add to all the above, that you are suggesting that we do cost-benefit analysis for multiple conference models and compare them. Think about designing control experiments, considering the interactions between conferences (people who attend both vs. those who attend only one kind), etc.

I would not go down the path of cost-benefit analysis for a conference such as Wikimania. We will loose too much time and money and still the analysis will have so many questionable components.

​What industry and academic conferences usually do when they're in doubt is that they become bold and start a new conference but keep the original one in place. If the new conference attracts more audience, to the extent that at some point organizing the original conference doesn't make sense (too few attendees, lower quality abstract submissions, major people in the field moving to the new conference), then they gradually stop the original conference. It seems that following that approach would be more beneficial than questioning the usefulness of Wikimania without more extensively trying the other conference/meet-up types first and in parallel to Wikimania.

If WMF and the community are going to spend that much money every year on an annual conference, with the majority of that money coming from donors who give small-dollar amounts, I think that we need to think carefully and thoroughly about how we plan the conference (or conferences) to align with the goals of our donors and what we tell our donors.

​Two points to take into account here:

* Wikimania is a major and mature conference and it's fair to compare it to major academic conferences that I'm more familiar with. The cost of such conferences is usually quite higher than Wikimania, if you consider roughly the same attendance numbers. I would start worrying about the cost of Wikimania only if the cost goes much higher than the industry standard.

* I wouldn't recommend reconsidering how we plan for our major conferences based on what we tell our donors. We should define our needs and find a way to fund them.
 
Leila

--
Leila Zia
Research Scientist
Wikimedia Foundation


Pine

On Sat, Jul 9, 2016 at 12:50 PM, Deryck Chan <[hidden email]> wrote:

I find it a bit over the top too to have such a letter, so strongly worded, and signed by so many board chairs.

It reveals a divide between those who participated in the IdeaLab survey[1] and those who were at the Future of Wikimania session in Esino.

It would perhaps be interesting to see if correlations can be revealed as to what demographic of Wikimedian prefer 1 year per Wikimania and what demographic prefer 2 year per Wikimania - like geographical distribution, involvement in local Wikimedia groups (staff / board / other volunteer / not a participant), and past attendance at regional Wikimedia conferences and Wikimania.

[1] https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Grants:IdeaLab/Towards_a_New_Wikimania/Outcomes

Thank you. I find it confusing that the letter starts with "The chairpersons of the Wikimedia chapters state that Wikimania needs to be arranged every year," which implies that all of the chapter chairs are united in agreement, but it appears several chapters didn't sign the letter. Looking further at the content of the letter, I would have some questions about some of the statements that were made there. In the future, I would encourage chapter chairs to have discussions about matters such as this on the Affiliates mailing list so that we can have more inclusive discussions among more affiliates before sending letters like that. The Wikimania situation is already convoluted, and I believe that letters such as this should get fuller discussion among affiliates before they are sent to WMF.

Thanks,

Pine

On Jul 8, 2016 20:04, "Christophe Henner" <[hidden email]> wrote:

My bad I forgot it already is on meta https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia_chapters/Statements/Chapter_chairs_statement:_Wikimania_needs_to_be_arranged_every_year

Le 9 juil. 2016 4:50 AM, "Pine W" <[hidden email]> a écrit :

Thanks Christophe. I, for one, have had difficulty figuring out what is going on with Wikimania in regards to varying decisions in different parts of WMF and the community, so I look forward to the clarifications.

Personally I am currently neutral on the decision of whether to have annual Wikimanias, or alternate Wikimanias with years in which there is emphasis on national or regional conferences. My hunch is that some research about costs and benefits is needed so that we have reliable data about a variety of scenarios before making a decision.

Thanks again for working on this.

To the board chairs: I would be interested in seeing that letter. In the spirit of transparency, would you please publish it on Meta? As you know I am an advocate for much more transparency from WMF, and I would like for the affiliates to also to be transparent about governance matters such as this one.

Thanks,

Pine

On Jul 8, 2016 19:18, "Christophe Henner" <[hidden email]> wrote:

Hi everyone,

The same question was raised to the board a few days ago by chairs of Wikimedia organizations asking Foundation's board to make sure there's a comprehensive decision on this very topic. 

The chairs letter wasn't public, I let them share it on meta or here if they want to :)

First step, in my opinion, is to set expectations and define the scope (in the role of the event but also in the ressources (both human and financial) we commit to the event. 

Katherine is working with the staff to provide groundings.

Here is the answer I provided them with. 

----

Hi chairs!

First of all, thank you with the email, the feedback is clearly useful and raises interesting point. 

Now, the Wikimania discussion definitly is on the table. Living by what we said during Wikimania, we, as WMF, will make sure we end up with a clear answer to your questions but also to the different points you raise. 

Wikimania is an important time in our movement, but as you said it also comes with costs and challenges that we have to adress. Katherine is going to meet in the coming days with the staff in charge of that topic to start that discussion within WMF and provide groundings for a comprehensive decision. 

We will try to be as diligent as possible on that topic, but I would ask you to keep in mind that as we're in a transition phase and that might take a little more time than you could expect. 

Again thank you for your email, I love the fact that he raises issues but also includes the challenges we have to take care of :)

We'll get back to you as soon as possible to continue that discussion.

Have all a really great day / night :)

Christophe

While I concur with Coren’s conclusion, I’ll try to neutrally report on the events at Wikimania which led to this result. :)

Full disclosure: I’m a fan of Wikimania being yearly, and was asked to serve on the Wikimania Committee after Esino Lario. I was also the main moderator of the Wikimania 2016 session on the “Future of Wikimania.” These views are my own, and not anything official from the committee.

Background: Many folks (I’d say a majority) who I talked to in Esino Lario early in the conference thought that the decision to do Wikimania every other year was a done deal, as a result of the IdeaLab consultation. I told them that might not necessarily be so. The vote was close, not particularly widely known, and we could still be heard. Chris Schilling from the WMF, who oversaw the Idealab consultation, sought me out specifically at the start of the conference and to my delight, said that the consultation was “just another data point,” and that it was by no means the final word on things. Obviously, this was good news to people who were interested in keeping a yearly Wikimania.

I was scheduled to moderate the “Future of Wikimania” discussion session [1] at the very end of the conference, and encouraged people to let their views be heard. It was under these conditions that we entered into the final discussion room and I asked Chris Schilling to give an opening statement to the room. Most people were happy to hear him say that it was “just another data point.” During the discussion, there was overwhelming support to keep Wikimania going every year, which is not a surprise considering this was *at* Wikimania. I encourage folks to peruse the Etherpad notes, which are quite extensive and expertly done by several folks there.

Some views I’d highlight:
- Having yearly Wikimania is important to keep the momentum of the movement going, according to many
- A case for cancelling yearly Wikimania was to encourage/fund regional meetups. However, there is no guarantee that those regional meetups would actually take place, or that WMF would necessarily take the money saved from Wikimania to fund them. Some folks from Asia specifically said that there is weaker linguistic, cultural and geographic synergy for an “Asian” conference like there is in Europe and Africa, which is why it has been hard to do one.
- One person noted that one trip to Wikimania served the same role as several international trips to get the same benefit from meeting other Wikimedians/developers, so there are indeed cost efficiencies in having a central conference.


-Andrew Lih
Associate professor of journalism, American University
Email: [hidden email]
WEB: http://www.andrewlih.com
BOOK: The Wikipedia Revolution: http://www.wikipediarevolution.com
PROJECT: Wiki Makes Video http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:WikiProject_Wiki_Makes_Video

On Fri, Jul 8, 2016 at 10:18 AM, Marc-Andre <[hidden email]> wrote:
On 2016-07-08 10:01 AM, Chris Keating wrote:
Interestingly, I couldn't see any sign of the Committee's decision being informed by the WMF's consultation on the future of Wikimania, or anyone from the WMF's community engagement department being present.

Wikimania is, and always was, a community led and organized event. The WMF, as its traditional biggest sponsor[1], has a great deal of influence in the matter - but ultimately no decision power beyond "fund and resource or not".

The committee's decision has indeed taken into account the consultation you refer to - as well as the roundtable discussion on the "Future of Wikimania" that took place earlier[2].  Our evaluation, which is reflected in that resolution, is that the consultation was clearly flawed and that its conclusion does not reflect consensus - neither of the community members who organize nor of those who attend Wikimania.

-- Coren / Marc

[1] Although "underwrite" might be a better term - the WMF has pretty much shouldered the vast majority of the costs and given the most logistical support year in and year out.

[2] Where the consensus was to overwhelmingly reject that consultation's conclusion in favor or continuing with Wikimania as a yearly even given its irreplaceable role in our movement.

_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l


_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l


_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l


_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l


_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l


_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l


_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l



_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l



_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l



_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l




--
GN.
President Wikimedia Australia
WMAU: http://www.wikimedia.org.au/wiki/User:Gnangarra
Photo Gallery: http://gnangarra.redbubble.com


_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l


_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l




--
GN.
President Wikimedia Australia
WMAU: http://www.wikimedia.org.au/wiki/User:Gnangarra
Photo Gallery: http://gnangarra.redbubble.com


_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l


_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Wikimania - annually, with South Africa in 2018?

Lodewijk
The things you listed aren't exactly mutually exclusive :) You need knowledge sharing between communities to have a healthy set of communities. 

The main goal that overarches, is I think community health - which is a very broad and general goal, admitted. But that has several subgoals, including knowledge sharing internally and learning from other organisations, strengthening the fabric of the communities and improving the social network, so that we can use that in the rest of the year. 

In my opinion this does require a certail level of continuity, of reliability and keeping the momentum going. 

Lodewijk

2016-07-10 13:37 GMT+02:00 Christophe Henner <[hidden email]>:

One goal :) you always side effects.

If the goal is to be a community event why don't we don't we do a huge event every 4 years where we fly in every single editors? Instead of doing 4 Wikimanias.

That is why setting expections and goal is key, so then we can make decisions.

We're talking about financial ressources what about the time spent by volunteers?

My point being, Wikimania is a great event and has costs and setting expectations will allow us to make better decisions. Perhaps, as Andrew says, will end up saying we should spend twice what we're spending because it is key or perhaps half of what we're spending.

Is it a community event?
Is it a knowledge sharing event?
Is it an outreaching event?
Is it a way to reward people?

​The answer to these four are yes
  • ​Yes its a community event, one that brings people together and empowers them
  • Yes it where we share  the lessons of our successes and failures​

  • Yes reaches out to local region, especially GLAM for them to see what can be achieved, it also attracts a media profile and put the ED, Borad and others within reach of potential sponsors
  • Yes the scholarship process has an element of reward for participation in that it requires people to be sufficiently active to be considered
 


On 10 July 2016 at 14:05, Christophe Henner <[hidden email]> wrote:

Hey,

So, as with everything, Wikimania is going through a process where we (as à group) will define if it pushes our mission forward or not.

First, WMF staff working so we can have the discussion with all the cards in our hands. Which is not the case now.

Second, what is Wikimania purposes? Right now I fear there is none clearly define.

Is it a community event?
Is it a knowledge sharing event?
Is it an outreaching event?
Is it a way to reward people?
...

One has to be define, a main one.

Then we will be able to talk about how it happens.

I have opinions but I rather keep them to myself until I have everything in hand. But I love Wikimania, and I want to know if it's the best format, and if it's not to fix it :)

Le 10 juil. 2016 4:37 AM, "Gnangarra" <[hidden email]> a écrit :
Agree with the comments thats hard to measure the value of a Wikimania, and what an attendee will do with the experience. so here is my experience

My first Wikimania was 2012 in Washington DC, I was a little introspective and embroiled in an ARBCOM case I shared a room with Richard Farmbrough with whom I had a deep discussion about the case he gave me some amazing advice about that process it literally reenergises my efforts...  While doing so he recommended a session about QRpedia, a really interesting project.  Two months later I'm back home and still editing when an opportunity presents itself to propose a QRpedia project in Fremantle, that produced the first Wikitown in Australia.  The Freopedia project as it became known opened the door to another WikiTown project in Toodyay called Toodyaypedia,  Next minute I'm nominated for a State Heritage award for the work I've been doing through Wikipedia and the out reach projects that have improved coverage of Western Australian History more doors start to open.  I'm on a roll really energised and its rubbing off on the local community they willingly helping with every silly idea I try, so much so that I get nominated to be a committee member(Vice President no less) of the local chapter. London 2014 Wikimedia Australia pays for me to attend London where I give back to the community my experiences and share my experiences about WikiTowns/QRpedia(along with a few Tim Tams and Caramellow Koalas) in the community village. Also while in London I got to attended a pre-wikimania training session by WMUK that they offer to people doing outreach that was a wonderful experience and helped me improve the way I do outreach here,[side thought:that should be taken on the road to every chapter who does or wants to do outreach].   

I return even more enrgise and what to bring the Wikimania experience here where more even more people can benefit directly rather than just through my efforts. 2015 I'm presented with another opportunity to expand the projects happening here this time writing in an Indigenous Australian language and improving content about a subject area thats has been inadeqautely covered for the first 10years of wikipedia.  Along come an offer from WMF to attend Mexico I'm torn between my commitment to the Noongar Language work which included a workshop that coincided with Wikimania and the opportunity to attend my 3rd event, of course my commitment to the local project took precidence. The cost of that was not finding out about the changes to the Wikimania processes and spending a lot of time putting together a bid for Wikimania in Perth.  The benefit of the Noongarpedia project is that we now have the first Indigenous Australian language in the incubator, with a number of other communities watching and learning from our experiences, I just spent a week in Darwin which included talking with people there and walking them through that project. Somewhere in all of this I also became President of WMAu  and with it WMAu has had its most successful period, I like to think some that is because of the energy I have brought to the table from my experience at Wikimania.

One Australian once theorised about how WMF measures success and highlighted that the value is not in the physical numbers but in the intangible connections that are made, he even put forward a PEG proposal to demostrate that its the personal relationships that matter and how you build them that have the true impact.  Being isolated in Western Australia made for the perfect ground to develop such a project ironically it was declined because of the fact that the project lacked the generation of numbers which would make success measurable. 

We place too much emphasis on physical numbers to measure out comes yet we all know that education is more than just numbers and community development is about connections, energy and empowering others Wikimania does, that we just need to find the right boxes to tick.

[conflict with Riskers response, apologies if I over lap]


On 10 July 2016 at 09:50, Pine W <[hidden email]> wrote:
Hi Andrew and Leila,

There are quite a few ways of looking at the numbers (which is one reason that I'm hoping for a thorough analysis.) Please note that I think that conferences should happen; I am asking if this is the status quo is the optimal way of spending these funds. There are other ways of using funds for conferences that could be explored.

For example, if a Wikimania costs $600,000 and there are 1,000 attendees, that works out to a cost of $600 per attendee for 1000 people. Is that a wiser investment than spreading out the same funds among (hypothetically) 3,000 attendees at multiple national/regional conferences for an average expense of $200 per attendee? At this point I don't think any of us can answer that question.

The Wikimania-going population, especially the people who go to many WIkimanias, are a vanishingly small percentage of the overall WIkimedia population. They tend to be active, but there are plenty of active Wikimedians such as myself who have never been to Wikimania, although I'd like to go next year. Does it make sense to spend so much money on such a small percentage of our community? There are reasons to think that the answer could be yes; for example, if Wikimania motivates highly active contributors and leaders to keep up the good work. However, it's not clear that similarly good effects couldn't be achieved on a broader scale by spreading the funds among more numerous smaller conferences.

There is a good argument to be made that having lots of highly active contributors and project leaders from all over the world in the same place, and having WMF staff mix with them, is a good idea for purposes of improving communications and relationships. Generation of good PR press, and cross-pollination of ideas, are also important and I think that we should support those. However, similarly good outcomes might be achieved through multiple smaller conferences.

I'm in favor of continuing to spend funds on conferences; what I think that none of us know is whether our current model of a single large conference is "better" than multiple national/regional conferences.

Along the lines of Leila's suggestion, the idea of temporarily scaling up WMF's support for national/regional (or thematic) conferences while keeping Wikimania in place makes sense to me. That requires some willingness to spend the funds for both types of events for a few years. It's a bit of an expensive proposition though, and I'm wary of asking the WMF staff to spend more time traveling to more conferences. I guess I'm cautiously in favor of looking at this option if it's financially practical to scale up the support for focused conferences while maintaining support for Wikimania. Keep in mind that WMF Fundraising is worried about plateauing revenues, so we're working in a world of resource constraints and trying to do the best we can with what we've got.

I'm looking forward to hearing what Katherine and Christophe think. And with that, I'm afraid that I must depart this thread to attend to other matters. (: Thanks for the good conversation, everyone.

Pine

On Sat, Jul 9, 2016 at 6:37 PM, Leila Zia <[hidden email]> wrote:
Hi Pine,

On Sat, Jul 9, 2016 at 1:14 PM, Pine W <[hidden email]> wrote:
 
I'd also be interested in projections of total attendance and costs (including travel costs and staff time) for Wikimania vs. having more or expanded national and regional conferences.

But then there is the benefit (which is not fully captured by attendance that) we need to take into account, too, and that's where the main problem starts. It's relatively easy to measure the costs of conferences, it's very hard to measure their benefit for a variety of reasons, one of which, in our context, is that it's hard to assign price-tag to many of the projects the community and beyond drive, even if you can clearly link them to Wikimania (which is a problem on its own). And that's already the easier part of the benefit analysis. It can get way more complicated if we want to assign a price-tag to how much it's worth for each of us to learn more about others.

And now add to all the above, that you are suggesting that we do cost-benefit analysis for multiple conference models and compare them. Think about designing control experiments, considering the interactions between conferences (people who attend both vs. those who attend only one kind), etc.

I would not go down the path of cost-benefit analysis for a conference such as Wikimania. We will loose too much time and money and still the analysis will have so many questionable components.

​What industry and academic conferences usually do when they're in doubt is that they become bold and start a new conference but keep the original one in place. If the new conference attracts more audience, to the extent that at some point organizing the original conference doesn't make sense (too few attendees, lower quality abstract submissions, major people in the field moving to the new conference), then they gradually stop the original conference. It seems that following that approach would be more beneficial than questioning the usefulness of Wikimania without more extensively trying the other conference/meet-up types first and in parallel to Wikimania.

If WMF and the community are going to spend that much money every year on an annual conference, with the majority of that money coming from donors who give small-dollar amounts, I think that we need to think carefully and thoroughly about how we plan the conference (or conferences) to align with the goals of our donors and what we tell our donors.

​Two points to take into account here:

* Wikimania is a major and mature conference and it's fair to compare it to major academic conferences that I'm more familiar with. The cost of such conferences is usually quite higher than Wikimania, if you consider roughly the same attendance numbers. I would start worrying about the cost of Wikimania only if the cost goes much higher than the industry standard.

* I wouldn't recommend reconsidering how we plan for our major conferences based on what we tell our donors. We should define our needs and find a way to fund them.
 
Leila

--
Leila Zia
Research Scientist
Wikimedia Foundation


Pine

On Sat, Jul 9, 2016 at 12:50 PM, Deryck Chan <[hidden email]> wrote:

I find it a bit over the top too to have such a letter, so strongly worded, and signed by so many board chairs.

It reveals a divide between those who participated in the IdeaLab survey[1] and those who were at the Future of Wikimania session in Esino.

It would perhaps be interesting to see if correlations can be revealed as to what demographic of Wikimedian prefer 1 year per Wikimania and what demographic prefer 2 year per Wikimania - like geographical distribution, involvement in local Wikimedia groups (staff / board / other volunteer / not a participant), and past attendance at regional Wikimedia conferences and Wikimania.

[1] https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Grants:IdeaLab/Towards_a_New_Wikimania/Outcomes

Thank you. I find it confusing that the letter starts with "The chairpersons of the Wikimedia chapters state that Wikimania needs to be arranged every year," which implies that all of the chapter chairs are united in agreement, but it appears several chapters didn't sign the letter. Looking further at the content of the letter, I would have some questions about some of the statements that were made there. In the future, I would encourage chapter chairs to have discussions about matters such as this on the Affiliates mailing list so that we can have more inclusive discussions among more affiliates before sending letters like that. The Wikimania situation is already convoluted, and I believe that letters such as this should get fuller discussion among affiliates before they are sent to WMF.

Thanks,

Pine

On Jul 8, 2016 20:04, "Christophe Henner" <[hidden email]> wrote:

My bad I forgot it already is on meta https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia_chapters/Statements/Chapter_chairs_statement:_Wikimania_needs_to_be_arranged_every_year

Le 9 juil. 2016 4:50 AM, "Pine W" <[hidden email]> a écrit :

Thanks Christophe. I, for one, have had difficulty figuring out what is going on with Wikimania in regards to varying decisions in different parts of WMF and the community, so I look forward to the clarifications.

Personally I am currently neutral on the decision of whether to have annual Wikimanias, or alternate Wikimanias with years in which there is emphasis on national or regional conferences. My hunch is that some research about costs and benefits is needed so that we have reliable data about a variety of scenarios before making a decision.

Thanks again for working on this.

To the board chairs: I would be interested in seeing that letter. In the spirit of transparency, would you please publish it on Meta? As you know I am an advocate for much more transparency from WMF, and I would like for the affiliates to also to be transparent about governance matters such as this one.

Thanks,

Pine

On Jul 8, 2016 19:18, "Christophe Henner" <[hidden email]> wrote:

Hi everyone,

The same question was raised to the board a few days ago by chairs of Wikimedia organizations asking Foundation's board to make sure there's a comprehensive decision on this very topic. 

The chairs letter wasn't public, I let them share it on meta or here if they want to :)

First step, in my opinion, is to set expectations and define the scope (in the role of the event but also in the ressources (both human and financial) we commit to the event. 

Katherine is working with the staff to provide groundings.

Here is the answer I provided them with. 

----

Hi chairs!

First of all, thank you with the email, the feedback is clearly useful and raises interesting point. 

Now, the Wikimania discussion definitly is on the table. Living by what we said during Wikimania, we, as WMF, will make sure we end up with a clear answer to your questions but also to the different points you raise. 

Wikimania is an important time in our movement, but as you said it also comes with costs and challenges that we have to adress. Katherine is going to meet in the coming days with the staff in charge of that topic to start that discussion within WMF and provide groundings for a comprehensive decision. 

We will try to be as diligent as possible on that topic, but I would ask you to keep in mind that as we're in a transition phase and that might take a little more time than you could expect. 

Again thank you for your email, I love the fact that he raises issues but also includes the challenges we have to take care of :)

We'll get back to you as soon as possible to continue that discussion.

Have all a really great day / night :)

Christophe

While I concur with Coren’s conclusion, I’ll try to neutrally report on the events at Wikimania which led to this result. :)

Full disclosure: I’m a fan of Wikimania being yearly, and was asked to serve on the Wikimania Committee after Esino Lario. I was also the main moderator of the Wikimania 2016 session on the “Future of Wikimania.” These views are my own, and not anything official from the committee.

Background: Many folks (I’d say a majority) who I talked to in Esino Lario early in the conference thought that the decision to do Wikimania every other year was a done deal, as a result of the IdeaLab consultation. I told them that might not necessarily be so. The vote was close, not particularly widely known, and we could still be heard. Chris Schilling from the WMF, who oversaw the Idealab consultation, sought me out specifically at the start of the conference and to my delight, said that the consultation was “just another data point,” and that it was by no means the final word on things. Obviously, this was good news to people who were interested in keeping a yearly Wikimania.

I was scheduled to moderate the “Future of Wikimania” discussion session [1] at the very end of the conference, and encouraged people to let their views be heard. It was under these conditions that we entered into the final discussion room and I asked Chris Schilling to give an opening statement to the room. Most people were happy to hear him say that it was “just another data point.” During the discussion, there was overwhelming support to keep Wikimania going every year, which is not a surprise considering this was *at* Wikimania. I encourage folks to peruse the Etherpad notes, which are quite extensive and expertly done by several folks there.

Some views I’d highlight:
- Having yearly Wikimania is important to keep the momentum of the movement going, according to many
- A case for cancelling yearly Wikimania was to encourage/fund regional meetups. However, there is no guarantee that those regional meetups would actually take place, or that WMF would necessarily take the money saved from Wikimania to fund them. Some folks from Asia specifically said that there is weaker linguistic, cultural and geographic synergy for an “Asian” conference like there is in Europe and Africa, which is why it has been hard to do one.
- One person noted that one trip to Wikimania served the same role as several international trips to get the same benefit from meeting other Wikimedians/developers, so there are indeed cost efficiencies in having a central conference.


-Andrew Lih
Associate professor of journalism, American University
Email: [hidden email]
WEB: http://www.andrewlih.com
BOOK: The Wikipedia Revolution: http://www.wikipediarevolution.com
PROJECT: Wiki Makes Video http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:WikiProject_Wiki_Makes_Video

On Fri, Jul 8, 2016 at 10:18 AM, Marc-Andre <[hidden email]> wrote:
On 2016-07-08 10:01 AM, Chris Keating wrote:
Interestingly, I couldn't see any sign of the Committee's decision being informed by the WMF's consultation on the future of Wikimania, or anyone from the WMF's community engagement department being present.

Wikimania is, and always was, a community led and organized event. The WMF, as its traditional biggest sponsor[1], has a great deal of influence in the matter - but ultimately no decision power beyond "fund and resource or not".

The committee's decision has indeed taken into account the consultation you refer to - as well as the roundtable discussion on the "Future of Wikimania" that took place earlier[2].  Our evaluation, which is reflected in that resolution, is that the consultation was clearly flawed and that its conclusion does not reflect consensus - neither of the community members who organize nor of those who attend Wikimania.

-- Coren / Marc

[1] Although "underwrite" might be a better term - the WMF has pretty much shouldered the vast majority of the costs and given the most logistical support year in and year out.

[2] Where the consensus was to overwhelmingly reject that consultation's conclusion in favor or continuing with Wikimania as a yearly even given its irreplaceable role in our movement.

_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l


_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l


_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l


_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l


_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l


_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l


_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l



_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l



_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l



_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l




--
GN.
President Wikimedia Australia
WMAU: http://www.wikimedia.org.au/wiki/User:Gnangarra
Photo Gallery: http://gnangarra.redbubble.com


_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l


_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l




--
GN.
President Wikimedia Australia
WMAU: http://www.wikimedia.org.au/wiki/User:Gnangarra
Photo Gallery: http://gnangarra.redbubble.com


_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l


_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l



_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Wikimania - annually, with South Africa in 2018?

Dariusz Jemielniak-3
In reply to this post by Christophe Henner-3
my two cents (please, forgive me if I'm stating the obvious, or if I'm repeating things that were said elsewhere or already addressed): 

First, I don't think that an event every four years will have the mobilizing and motivating role that an annual one does. Four years is longer than a typical tenure of an editor (more or less, I'm just recollecting). I understand that Christophe is referring to a 4-year event  rhetorically, but just saying.

I see tremendous value in a global Wikimania every year.

In the same time, I've seen the following problems over the years, not directly linked to the financial cost (which in the face of our relative financial stability can be justified by the benefits, depending on how we define them):
- huge WMF staff involvement (most Wikimanias run smoothly also thanks to countless hours put in by the staff),
- huge volunteer local organizers involvement (in fact, my observation is that many chapters organizing WIkimanias suffer from a motivation crisis afterward). 

Surely, we can have different surveys and other questionnaires. I doubt if they will show anything else than that Wikimania is an incredibly valuable event that comes at huge financial and human cost, though. 

While we can get the money (at least for now), the human involvement cost is something I would not dare to dismiss just by emphasizing the benefits of Wikimania for the movement. 

I'd be probably more interested in thinking out loud about how we can change the format so that we reduce the human and money costs while keeping the benefits. My understanding is that the proposal to have a global WIkimania every two years and local events in between is actually one attempt to address that. There can be others (and some have been discussed in this thread, we also have some sensible benchmarks from other organizations).

My concern is that we may end up with losing a lot of Wikimania benefits, while not necessarily decreasing human or financial costs, but this is something that we definitely need to discuss and consider carefully. 

Instead of discussing whether we should have a Wikimania every year or not, perhaps we should try to list and discuss the reasons why it is such a big strain? If it is clear  that we can't afford it every year (because of the human cost, probably more importantly than the finances), the decision to break with the annual format will be a natural consequence of such an analysis. 

It could be useful to first have a really sensible and systematic list of alternative paths.


best,

Dariusz Jemielniak ("pundit", a current Trustee).








On Sun, Jul 10, 2016 at 7:37 AM, Christophe Henner <[hidden email]> wrote:

One goal :) you always side effects.

If the goal is to be a community event why don't we don't we do a huge event every 4 years where we fly in every single editors? Instead of doing 4 Wikimanias.

That is why setting expections and goal is key, so then we can make decisions.

We're talking about financial ressources what about the time spent by volunteers?

My point being, Wikimania is a great event and has costs and setting expectations will allow us to make better decisions. Perhaps, as Andrew says, will end up saying we should spend twice what we're spending because it is key or perhaps half of what we're spending.

Is it a community event?
Is it a knowledge sharing event?
Is it an outreaching event?
Is it a way to reward people?

​The answer to these four are yes
  • ​Yes its a community event, one that brings people together and empowers them
  • Yes it where we share  the lessons of our successes and failures​

  • Yes reaches out to local region, especially GLAM for them to see what can be achieved, it also attracts a media profile and put the ED, Borad and others within reach of potential sponsors
  • Yes the scholarship process has an element of reward for participation in that it requires people to be sufficiently active to be considered
 


On 10 July 2016 at 14:05, Christophe Henner <[hidden email]> wrote:

Hey,

So, as with everything, Wikimania is going through a process where we (as à group) will define if it pushes our mission forward or not.

First, WMF staff working so we can have the discussion with all the cards in our hands. Which is not the case now.

Second, what is Wikimania purposes? Right now I fear there is none clearly define.

Is it a community event?
Is it a knowledge sharing event?
Is it an outreaching event?
Is it a way to reward people?
...

One has to be define, a main one.

Then we will be able to talk about how it happens.

I have opinions but I rather keep them to myself until I have everything in hand. But I love Wikimania, and I want to know if it's the best format, and if it's not to fix it :)

Le 10 juil. 2016 4:37 AM, "Gnangarra" <[hidden email]> a écrit :
Agree with the comments thats hard to measure the value of a Wikimania, and what an attendee will do with the experience. so here is my experience

My first Wikimania was 2012 in Washington DC, I was a little introspective and embroiled in an ARBCOM case I shared a room with Richard Farmbrough with whom I had a deep discussion about the case he gave me some amazing advice about that process it literally reenergises my efforts...  While doing so he recommended a session about QRpedia, a really interesting project.  Two months later I'm back home and still editing when an opportunity presents itself to propose a QRpedia project in Fremantle, that produced the first Wikitown in Australia.  The Freopedia project as it became known opened the door to another WikiTown project in Toodyay called Toodyaypedia,  Next minute I'm nominated for a State Heritage award for the work I've been doing through Wikipedia and the out reach projects that have improved coverage of Western Australian History more doors start to open.  I'm on a roll really energised and its rubbing off on the local community they willingly helping with every silly idea I try, so much so that I get nominated to be a committee member(Vice President no less) of the local chapter. London 2014 Wikimedia Australia pays for me to attend London where I give back to the community my experiences and share my experiences about WikiTowns/QRpedia(along with a few Tim Tams and Caramellow Koalas) in the community village. Also while in London I got to attended a pre-wikimania training session by WMUK that they offer to people doing outreach that was a wonderful experience and helped me improve the way I do outreach here,[side thought:that should be taken on the road to every chapter who does or wants to do outreach].   

I return even more enrgise and what to bring the Wikimania experience here where more even more people can benefit directly rather than just through my efforts. 2015 I'm presented with another opportunity to expand the projects happening here this time writing in an Indigenous Australian language and improving content about a subject area thats has been inadeqautely covered for the first 10years of wikipedia.  Along come an offer from WMF to attend Mexico I'm torn between my commitment to the Noongar Language work which included a workshop that coincided with Wikimania and the opportunity to attend my 3rd event, of course my commitment to the local project took precidence. The cost of that was not finding out about the changes to the Wikimania processes and spending a lot of time putting together a bid for Wikimania in Perth.  The benefit of the Noongarpedia project is that we now have the first Indigenous Australian language in the incubator, with a number of other communities watching and learning from our experiences, I just spent a week in Darwin which included talking with people there and walking them through that project. Somewhere in all of this I also became President of WMAu  and with it WMAu has had its most successful period, I like to think some that is because of the energy I have brought to the table from my experience at Wikimania.

One Australian once theorised about how WMF measures success and highlighted that the value is not in the physical numbers but in the intangible connections that are made, he even put forward a PEG proposal to demostrate that its the personal relationships that matter and how you build them that have the true impact.  Being isolated in Western Australia made for the perfect ground to develop such a project ironically it was declined because of the fact that the project lacked the generation of numbers which would make success measurable. 

We place too much emphasis on physical numbers to measure out comes yet we all know that education is more than just numbers and community development is about connections, energy and empowering others Wikimania does, that we just need to find the right boxes to tick.

[conflict with Riskers response, apologies if I over lap]


On 10 July 2016 at 09:50, Pine W <[hidden email]> wrote:
Hi Andrew and Leila,

There are quite a few ways of looking at the numbers (which is one reason that I'm hoping for a thorough analysis.) Please note that I think that conferences should happen; I am asking if this is the status quo is the optimal way of spending these funds. There are other ways of using funds for conferences that could be explored.

For example, if a Wikimania costs $600,000 and there are 1,000 attendees, that works out to a cost of $600 per attendee for 1000 people. Is that a wiser investment than spreading out the same funds among (hypothetically) 3,000 attendees at multiple national/regional conferences for an average expense of $200 per attendee? At this point I don't think any of us can answer that question.

The Wikimania-going population, especially the people who go to many WIkimanias, are a vanishingly small percentage of the overall WIkimedia population. They tend to be active, but there are plenty of active Wikimedians such as myself who have never been to Wikimania, although I'd like to go next year. Does it make sense to spend so much money on such a small percentage of our community? There are reasons to think that the answer could be yes; for example, if Wikimania motivates highly active contributors and leaders to keep up the good work. However, it's not clear that similarly good effects couldn't be achieved on a broader scale by spreading the funds among more numerous smaller conferences.

There is a good argument to be made that having lots of highly active contributors and project leaders from all over the world in the same place, and having WMF staff mix with them, is a good idea for purposes of improving communications and relationships. Generation of good PR press, and cross-pollination of ideas, are also important and I think that we should support those. However, similarly good outcomes might be achieved through multiple smaller conferences.

I'm in favor of continuing to spend funds on conferences; what I think that none of us know is whether our current model of a single large conference is "better" than multiple national/regional conferences.

Along the lines of Leila's suggestion, the idea of temporarily scaling up WMF's support for national/regional (or thematic) conferences while keeping Wikimania in place makes sense to me. That requires some willingness to spend the funds for both types of events for a few years. It's a bit of an expensive proposition though, and I'm wary of asking the WMF staff to spend more time traveling to more conferences. I guess I'm cautiously in favor of looking at this option if it's financially practical to scale up the support for focused conferences while maintaining support for Wikimania. Keep in mind that WMF Fundraising is worried about plateauing revenues, so we're working in a world of resource constraints and trying to do the best we can with what we've got.

I'm looking forward to hearing what Katherine and Christophe think. And with that, I'm afraid that I must depart this thread to attend to other matters. (: Thanks for the good conversation, everyone.

Pine

On Sat, Jul 9, 2016 at 6:37 PM, Leila Zia <[hidden email]> wrote:
Hi Pine,

On Sat, Jul 9, 2016 at 1:14 PM, Pine W <[hidden email]> wrote:
 
I'd also be interested in projections of total attendance and costs (including travel costs and staff time) for Wikimania vs. having more or expanded national and regional conferences.

But then there is the benefit (which is not fully captured by attendance that) we need to take into account, too, and that's where the main problem starts. It's relatively easy to measure the costs of conferences, it's very hard to measure their benefit for a variety of reasons, one of which, in our context, is that it's hard to assign price-tag to many of the projects the community and beyond drive, even if you can clearly link them to Wikimania (which is a problem on its own). And that's already the easier part of the benefit analysis. It can get way more complicated if we want to assign a price-tag to how much it's worth for each of us to learn more about others.

And now add to all the above, that you are suggesting that we do cost-benefit analysis for multiple conference models and compare them. Think about designing control experiments, considering the interactions between conferences (people who attend both vs. those who attend only one kind), etc.

I would not go down the path of cost-benefit analysis for a conference such as Wikimania. We will loose too much time and money and still the analysis will have so many questionable components.

​What industry and academic conferences usually do when they're in doubt is that they become bold and start a new conference but keep the original one in place. If the new conference attracts more audience, to the extent that at some point organizing the original conference doesn't make sense (too few attendees, lower quality abstract submissions, major people in the field moving to the new conference), then they gradually stop the original conference. It seems that following that approach would be more beneficial than questioning the usefulness of Wikimania without more extensively trying the other conference/meet-up types first and in parallel to Wikimania.

If WMF and the community are going to spend that much money every year on an annual conference, with the majority of that money coming from donors who give small-dollar amounts, I think that we need to think carefully and thoroughly about how we plan the conference (or conferences) to align with the goals of our donors and what we tell our donors.

​Two points to take into account here:

* Wikimania is a major and mature conference and it's fair to compare it to major academic conferences that I'm more familiar with. The cost of such conferences is usually quite higher than Wikimania, if you consider roughly the same attendance numbers. I would start worrying about the cost of Wikimania only if the cost goes much higher than the industry standard.

* I wouldn't recommend reconsidering how we plan for our major conferences based on what we tell our donors. We should define our needs and find a way to fund them.
 
Leila

--
Leila Zia
Research Scientist
Wikimedia Foundation


Pine

On Sat, Jul 9, 2016 at 12:50 PM, Deryck Chan <[hidden email]> wrote:

I find it a bit over the top too to have such a letter, so strongly worded, and signed by so many board chairs.

It reveals a divide between those who participated in the IdeaLab survey[1] and those who were at the Future of Wikimania session in Esino.

It would perhaps be interesting to see if correlations can be revealed as to what demographic of Wikimedian prefer 1 year per Wikimania and what demographic prefer 2 year per Wikimania - like geographical distribution, involvement in local Wikimedia groups (staff / board / other volunteer / not a participant), and past attendance at regional Wikimedia conferences and Wikimania.

[1] https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Grants:IdeaLab/Towards_a_New_Wikimania/Outcomes

Thank you. I find it confusing that the letter starts with "The chairpersons of the Wikimedia chapters state that Wikimania needs to be arranged every year," which implies that all of the chapter chairs are united in agreement, but it appears several chapters didn't sign the letter. Looking further at the content of the letter, I would have some questions about some of the statements that were made there. In the future, I would encourage chapter chairs to have discussions about matters such as this on the Affiliates mailing list so that we can have more inclusive discussions among more affiliates before sending letters like that. The Wikimania situation is already convoluted, and I believe that letters such as this should get fuller discussion among affiliates before they are sent to WMF.

Thanks,

Pine

On Jul 8, 2016 20:04, "Christophe Henner" <[hidden email]> wrote:

My bad I forgot it already is on meta https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia_chapters/Statements/Chapter_chairs_statement:_Wikimania_needs_to_be_arranged_every_year

Le 9 juil. 2016 4:50 AM, "Pine W" <[hidden email]> a écrit :

Thanks Christophe. I, for one, have had difficulty figuring out what is going on with Wikimania in regards to varying decisions in different parts of WMF and the community, so I look forward to the clarifications.

Personally I am currently neutral on the decision of whether to have annual Wikimanias, or alternate Wikimanias with years in which there is emphasis on national or regional conferences. My hunch is that some research about costs and benefits is needed so that we have reliable data about a variety of scenarios before making a decision.

Thanks again for working on this.

To the board chairs: I would be interested in seeing that letter. In the spirit of transparency, would you please publish it on Meta? As you know I am an advocate for much more transparency from WMF, and I would like for the affiliates to also to be transparent about governance matters such as this one.

Thanks,

Pine

On Jul 8, 2016 19:18, "Christophe Henner" <[hidden email]> wrote:

Hi everyone,

The same question was raised to the board a few days ago by chairs of Wikimedia organizations asking Foundation's board to make sure there's a comprehensive decision on this very topic. 

The chairs letter wasn't public, I let them share it on meta or here if they want to :)

First step, in my opinion, is to set expectations and define the scope (in the role of the event but also in the ressources (both human and financial) we commit to the event. 

Katherine is working with the staff to provide groundings.

Here is the answer I provided them with. 

----

Hi chairs!

First of all, thank you with the email, the feedback is clearly useful and raises interesting point. 

Now, the Wikimania discussion definitly is on the table. Living by what we said during Wikimania, we, as WMF, will make sure we end up with a clear answer to your questions but also to the different points you raise. 

Wikimania is an important time in our movement, but as you said it also comes with costs and challenges that we have to adress. Katherine is going to meet in the coming days with the staff in charge of that topic to start that discussion within WMF and provide groundings for a comprehensive decision. 

We will try to be as diligent as possible on that topic, but I would ask you to keep in mind that as we're in a transition phase and that might take a little more time than you could expect. 

Again thank you for your email, I love the fact that he raises issues but also includes the challenges we have to take care of :)

We'll get back to you as soon as possible to continue that discussion.

Have all a really great day / night :)

Christophe

While I concur with Coren’s conclusion, I’ll try to neutrally report on the events at Wikimania which led to this result. :)

Full disclosure: I’m a fan of Wikimania being yearly, and was asked to serve on the Wikimania Committee after Esino Lario. I was also the main moderator of the Wikimania 2016 session on the “Future of Wikimania.” These views are my own, and not anything official from the committee.

Background: Many folks (I’d say a majority) who I talked to in Esino Lario early in the conference thought that the decision to do Wikimania every other year was a done deal, as a result of the IdeaLab consultation. I told them that might not necessarily be so. The vote was close, not particularly widely known, and we could still be heard. Chris Schilling from the WMF, who oversaw the Idealab consultation, sought me out specifically at the start of the conference and to my delight, said that the consultation was “just another data point,” and that it was by no means the final word on things. Obviously, this was good news to people who were interested in keeping a yearly Wikimania.

I was scheduled to moderate the “Future of Wikimania” discussion session [1] at the very end of the conference, and encouraged people to let their views be heard. It was under these conditions that we entered into the final discussion room and I asked Chris Schilling to give an opening statement to the room. Most people were happy to hear him say that it was “just another data point.” During the discussion, there was overwhelming support to keep Wikimania going every year, which is not a surprise considering this was *at* Wikimania. I encourage folks to peruse the Etherpad notes, which are quite extensive and expertly done by several folks there.

Some views I’d highlight:
- Having yearly Wikimania is important to keep the momentum of the movement going, according to many
- A case for cancelling yearly Wikimania was to encourage/fund regional meetups. However, there is no guarantee that those regional meetups would actually take place, or that WMF would necessarily take the money saved from Wikimania to fund them. Some folks from Asia specifically said that there is weaker linguistic, cultural and geographic synergy for an “Asian” conference like there is in Europe and Africa, which is why it has been hard to do one.
- One person noted that one trip to Wikimania served the same role as several international trips to get the same benefit from meeting other Wikimedians/developers, so there are indeed cost efficiencies in having a central conference.


-Andrew Lih
Associate professor of journalism, American University
Email: [hidden email]
WEB: http://www.andrewlih.com
BOOK: The Wikipedia Revolution: http://www.wikipediarevolution.com
PROJECT: Wiki Makes Video http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:WikiProject_Wiki_Makes_Video

On Fri, Jul 8, 2016 at 10:18 AM, Marc-Andre <[hidden email]> wrote:
On 2016-07-08 10:01 AM, Chris Keating wrote:
Interestingly, I couldn't see any sign of the Committee's decision being informed by the WMF's consultation on the future of Wikimania, or anyone from the WMF's community engagement department being present.

Wikimania is, and always was, a community led and organized event. The WMF, as its traditional biggest sponsor[1], has a great deal of influence in the matter - but ultimately no decision power beyond "fund and resource or not".

The committee's decision has indeed taken into account the consultation you refer to - as well as the roundtable discussion on the "Future of Wikimania" that took place earlier[2].  Our evaluation, which is reflected in that resolution, is that the consultation was clearly flawed and that its conclusion does not reflect consensus - neither of the community members who organize nor of those who attend Wikimania.

-- Coren / Marc

[1] Although "underwrite" might be a better term - the WMF has pretty much shouldered the vast majority of the costs and given the most logistical support year in and year out.

[2] Where the consensus was to overwhelmingly reject that consultation's conclusion in favor or continuing with Wikimania as a yearly even given its irreplaceable role in our movement.

_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l


_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l


_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l


_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l


_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l


_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l


_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l



_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l



_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l



_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l




--
GN.
President Wikimedia Australia
WMAU: http://www.wikimedia.org.au/wiki/User:Gnangarra
Photo Gallery: http://gnangarra.redbubble.com


_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l


_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l




--
GN.
President Wikimedia Australia
WMAU: http://www.wikimedia.org.au/wiki/User:Gnangarra
Photo Gallery: http://gnangarra.redbubble.com


_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l


_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l




--

__________________________
prof. dr hab. Dariusz Jemielniak
kierownik katedry Zarządzania Międzynarodowego
i grupy badawczej NeRDS
Akademia Leona Koźmińskiego
http://nwrds.kozminski.edu.pl 

członek Akademii Młodych Uczonych Polskiej Akademii Nauk

Wyszła pierwsza na świecie etnografia Wikipedii "Common Knowledge? An Ethnography of Wikipedia" (2014, Stanford University Press) mojego autorstwa http://www.sup.org/book.cgi?id=24010

Recenzje

_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l
12345