Discussions/Submissions/The future of Wikimania and other community conferences

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The future of Wikimania

  • Title: The future of Wikimania and other community conferences
  • Proposed by: James Forrester (Chair, Wikimania Committee)
  • Description: As the Wikimedia community has grown and changed in the past eleven years, so has Wikimania, our annual community conference. It has grown in scale, changed in nature, experimented with different styles and tracks, and explored different pricing and scholarship models, venues and purposes; this year's conference is an example of that experimentation. Many attendees consider it the height of their year, and the most effective way to build strong relationships with community members across the globe, make progress on tricky issues, and secure agreement and mutual understanding.

    At its very largest, however, Wikimania has attracted fewer than 0.1% of the active editors of the sites. Many members cannot take on the luxury of attending a global conference, because they have commitments that make it impossible to travel, or travel that far, because they do not have the funds and cannot get a scholarship, or other reasons. How do we help as many of our community members as possible enjoy what makes Wikimania special? How do we make things better than they are? Where should our work be focused?

  • Purpose: As a group, we will share thoughts on what we each hope for the future of community conferences in general, and consider what changes might improve things.
  • Targeted participants: Community members interested in community dynamics, events, engagement and culture. Especially welcome are people from communities currently ill-served by the existing provision. Previous and prospective sponsors of such events, like the Wikimedia Foundation and chapters, are also welcome to give their views.
  • Preparatory readings or materials:

Questions and Comments 15

Hi James, thank you for your excellent proposal. Can you expand on how this discussion ties into the recent developments in the planning of future Wikimanias? Thanks, --Gnom (talk) 14:33, 16 April 2016 (UTC)

@Gnom: Sure; of which developments were you thinking? I already mention [1] which is the main one, but I'm sure there are others. Jdforrester (talk) 15:17, 17 April 2016 (UTC)
Hi Jdforrester, I was thinking of the "two-year Wikimania rhythm" and the "new venue selection process" that I've read about. I haven't quite understood what the status of these two proposals is, so maybe it's a good idea to make that clear in the description? Thanks, --Gnom (talk) 15:00, 18 April 2016 (UTC)
@Gnom: Yup, those are part of that. Their status is exactly what the discussion is about. :-) Jdforrester (talk) 23:19, 18 April 2016 (UTC)
Hi, Jdforrester, I think the description should briefly state what the current state of things is (Has anything been decided yet? If yes, what has already been decided?). --Gnom (talk) 20:26, 24 April 2016 (UTC)
Disclaimer : I am part of the Wikimania committee. James, I think it might be interesting to start the discussion with a short presentation state of the art (a very quick review of facts and figures for all past wikimanias would be welcome : number of participants, budget, diversity, focus etc.). What about featuring an informal survey as well ? (it may be a sheet of paper with a few questions, to drop in a box at the end of the discussion). Also... are you planning to be the sole facilitator of that discussion or do you bring some people with you ? (no, this is not an hidden agenda to try to be that facilitator myself). Anthere (talk)
@Anthere: I think that sounds like a great idea; I'll change the description tomorrow allowing for further feedback. I'd be more than happy to have other people facilitate if they'd be interested; if not you, whom? I'm not sure a pre-written survey is a good idea – part of the problem right now is forcing people's feedback into a set of pre-decided questions, and I'd like to get away from that. Jdforrester (talk) 23:19, 18 April 2016 (UTC)
@Jdforrester: good point. Then it means that if there is another facilitator (IF), s-he should not be part of the Wikimania current committee, nor staff at WMF so as to avoid already adopted positions or pre-formed perspectives. I trust you not to fall in that trap :) So maybe what would actually be needed is assistant support to record what is being said, proposed, positions of agreements or disagreement. Anthere (talk)
Hi @Jdforrester: congratulations! This proposal, renamed "The future of Wikimania" has been accepted by the Discussion Room Committee and will be included in the Discussion Room program. It is tentatively scheduled for Sunday afternoon, 26 June 2016, but that is subject to change. Please confirm you'll be attending Wikimania, and let me know if you have any questions or if there's anything our team can do to assist you with preparations for this discussion. I look forward to meeting you at Wikimania; safe travels! --Rosiestep (talk) 03:04, 26 May 2016 (UTC)