Talk:Future of the Wikimedia Conference

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Responsibilities[edit]

I think the WCA could take on the task of programme making and documentation. --Mglaser (talk) 21:32, 27 June 2013 (UTC)

Agreed - I came here to suggest this! The WCA has been rather heavy on administrative tasks (which are very necessary tasks, of course) and but light on activities which have practical/visible outcomes to the rest of the community. With the proposal that the event be organised by a group of chapters, it seems to be an obvious role for the WCA.
However the question needs to be asked - given that there are other affiliated groups (thorgs), as well as board meetings, FDC meetings, and of course the chapters meeting is now being referred to as a "Wikimedia Conference" - is it still primarily a chapters event? -- Chuq (talk) 03:14, 28 June 2013 (UTC)

If so, outsourcing event management to a single group/entity would make it unnecessary to split things to "teams" what in general is a very bad idea imo. Why? A large team of 10 or more ppl, especially if they are separated from each other would make the work uneffective in such a small scale not to mention, most of them would do nothing but voting (if they'll be active at all). A team of five for is more than enough. No need to reinvent the wheel, see Wikimania; an event for 2-3.000(!) people is organized by a team of about 10. An event for 100-150 participants, like this does not need more than five people to be created. --Vince (talk) 06:36, 28 June 2013 (UTC)

Agree, if we want to separate program from logistic, the WCA seems the most natural idea. - Laurentius (talk) 23:30, 28 June 2013 (UTC)

Sustainability[edit]

This is somewhat related to the documentation part. It goes beyond, though, as it also means evolving the Wikimedia Conference, its goals and setting. Again, I'd assume the WCA is the right entity to care for this. --Mglaser (talk) 21:36, 27 June 2013 (UTC)

Content[edit]

I'd have loved to learn more about chapter, volunteer and project management in Milan (technically speaking) so I would love to see the event heavily turning to that way. To give an example I'd transfer the "state of the movement" presentations to Wikimania and use the freed slots for technical discussions. Maybe doing the same with the WMF public Q&A.

What instead?

Way more about volunteer recruitement and management, chapter organizational structures/models (what works, what not), staff vs volunteers debate (subtitle: vs. or with?), "high impact projects" (through objective evaluation) instead of "cool projects" (subjective thoughts), no "FDC in general" but a lot about dealing with administration (to WMF and to local authorities), budget management (seems to be a problem to many chapters), dealing with burnout, keeping up the activity rate (community management in general), staff management from the viewpoint of the board (selection, management - do you put goals to achiveve in front of the head of staff, if yes, what -, dismissal - the unfortunate spanish case -, etc.) And of course seperation of board from staff through the case of WMUK, responsibility splitting, planning of the next year and long term (5+ years) planning, etc. Plus some other things, that did not came into my mind right now.

Maybe I'm wrong, but some chapters seems to me more like "breakaway groups" from their local communities doing their own stuff than being integral part of it and working together with them, but this might be a part of the volunteers vs. staff debate.

Ok, I can learn all about this by myself but it would be better to learn these already specified to Wikip/m/edia, than in general and find out myself how to implement those techniques and other things to WHMU, where I belong to.

In general I'd do a somewhat radical reshaping of the event to differentiate it from Wikimania as much as possible. --Vince (talk) 07:00, 28 June 2013 (UTC)

+1
However I think a lot of chapters are not ready for this.
  • To those chapters who get their funding from WMF would they listen to the others who get funding from someone else? (WM Poland - tax break, WMIT - tax break [how different is WMIT and WMPL?], WMDE - also tax break? For example. WMID other entities (Oil company [2010], Ford Foundation [2010, 2011], WMF [ past tense ]), other chapters, we also dig up other possibilities such as bank this year. Are there other chapters doing it as well?
  • "high impact projects" (through objective evaluation) instead of "cool projects" - WMID been doing this, we felt alone. Yes of course there's WMF in Arab effort that cost 2 million dollar - we have no interest in copying that, or WMDE who give abundant of cash prize money non replicable in our case considering numbers of very active/ active editors. But what about other chapters? After a few dig up WMAR turns out having a wikisource project with custom build scanners I never heard of. It probably not a high impact yet, since it is still on going, but it is a potentially high impact because momentum building takes a while.
  • "breakaway groups" from their local communities - this is not true in our case. WMID already state that we're different, the differentiation is also important to separate us for the possibility of lawsuit. We state that we're not editing community. However editing community profit from WMID by us supporting their crazy ideas of strengthening editors i.e. pay for venue, cake for birthday party (it is not a chapter event, it is a community event, donated partially by chapter where we sent representative). Also, other movement didn't contact Wikipedia community (Mozilla, Open Street map) they contact WMID (easier), we become "in between" where we forward the invitation to the community. Every invitation come we make sure they know whether they would like to invite community or organization? If it is community we forward it to village pump, if none available the we send organization rep. Siska.Doviana (talk) 05:00, 29 June 2013 (UTC)

Alternative funding/fundraising (alternative = non WMF) would be an interesting topic too. In general volunteer/community management and fundraising are general non-profit issues, not specific to Wikip/m/edia. I think I do not understand the rest; WMHU has an initiative to create a hub for similar local groups (OpenSteetMap, CC, etc.) and as far as I know, it is active. --Vince (talk) 19:08, 29 June 2013 (UTC)

In general I would like to see a Wikimedia Conference focus on practical things, Wikimania is already here to show how we are awesome, let's use Wikimedia conference to explain in which topic we need improvement and how to do that. In Milan I was really enthusiast about the strong presence of WMF staff, but at the end, to few of them were really active in plenary discussion. I think we should focus on few but effective topics:
  • fundings
    WMF grants and FDC
    Non WMF fundings
  • Programs
    Setting up
    Evaluation
    Knowledge transfer
  • Communities
    Community liaison
    community revitalization
    new editors engagment
  • Chapters managment
    governance issue
    office management

This is just ideas, but for me a weakness of the actual "chapter's meeting" is the lack of "fil rouge". I definitively think we should have (like for lot of annual scientific congress) a body in charge of the organization each year (venue, lunch, accommodation) and a local organizing committee in charge of the program. Bottom line I'm sure we all enjoy the last chapter's conference, it's not the question to say it was bad, it's a question how we do to make it more efficient in the future. --Charles Andrès (WMCH) 07:47, 10 July 2013 (UTC)


It has been an on-going discussion to have some dedicated workshops, trainings for the people who attend instead or in addition to the more general discussions. I think it would be useful to think whether we can use the conference as a capacity building event, and perhaps even invest into inviting outside experts on certain topics? Obviously, there are some complications with this approach, e.g. the chapters have to send the right people, or make it a bit "train the trainer" like, or record the training for the use of those who couldn't come, but in the long run I think it would be extremely useful to build the capacity of those dedicated people (currently the vast majority of them volunteers) who take leadership roles in our movement.--Bence (talk) 14:22, 28 August 2013 (UTC)

Coming up with a location first[edit]

As we are running out of time, I fear we need to come up with a location first. Although I am still convinced that we need an extensive process for discussing and determining the goals and outcomes of the conference, I now think that there is no other way than to set the location (aka the hosting chapter) first. This will hopefully enable us all to completely concentrate on the “real stuff” after that.

The date of the conference is still to be fixed, I recommend to again arrange it according to the spring meeting of the WMF Board of Trustees (still tba).

Here’s my suggestion:

Set up an _easy_ bidding process[edit]

In the past, it was always a “first come, first server” thing, no real process. Until now, no chapter expressed the serious intention to host the conference in 2014. Any takers? I’d recommend to set up a very low-key, fast and unbureaucratic bidding process to decide upon the location. And I also suggest to make this decision not only for 2014 but better for the next 2 or 3 years. Just taking the logistics and location for granted will help us focus on the content and sustainability of the event.

An “application” should focus on a few criteria like:

  • Experience in organising conferences with 100+ participants
  • Ability to dedicate staff (at least one person, better 2-3) for all the logistics
  • “Visa-friendliness” of the country
  • Very Rough estimate of travel costs for _all_ participants (given that each chapter/org sends two delegates)
  • Rough estimate of the total costs (venue, catering, accommodation, technical equipment, staff)

We can form a very small committee (5 to max 7 people; 3 chapter members, 1 AffCom and 1 WMF staff and/or board member) who make the final decision. The applications should be made on meta wiki (until the end of September), a decision should be made before the mid October.

The winning chapter will be responsible for all the logistics, as in: venue, catering, travel and visa arrangements, accommodation, technical equipment, social events, communication with and support for the participants.

Disclaimer: WMDE might apply for hosting the conference again and hand in an application, this is why I am not planning to be on the committee.

Cover the costs of the conference[edit]

I suggest that ALL costs of the conference are covered from ONE BIG pool. This pool should – in my opinion – be filled by the “bigger” chapters, who can include the costs for the conference in their current FDC proposals.

By ALL costs, I also mean ALL travel and accommodation costs for the participants, no matter if the chapter itself would have the money to send their delegates on its own costs. This helps us to calculate the total cost of the conference – which is covered by movement money anyway – and also liberates the smaller chapters/orgs from the challenge of getting separate funds for their travel costs.

We might do that, if there's a strong preference across the movement, but if we do, I'd like it to be only starting the WMCON after this next one, as we have already included travel funding for WMCON in quite a few of the grants we have given out, and we think it is good that groups build it into their budgets and annual plans, since it's known in advance. Asaf Bartov (WMF Grants) talk 14:51, 30 August 2013 (UTC)
Hi. My email to chapters-l included the following paragraph, which I missed to include here, sorry for that. "So if we want to have a Wikimedia Conference in 2014, I ask the “bigger” chapters who are applying for an FDC grant to include this position into their proposal – with for example 5-30k each (costs 2012 were ~75k, 2013 ~120k, both not including travel costs for everyone). As for the previous years, WMDE is considering to include this into our annual plan, no matter WHERE the conference will take place." That suggestion was mainly based on the fact that I fear that we won't have a final decision about the host before 1 October. Having split the costs on several chapters would give us time for finding the best location while securing the budget via the FDC. The solution that Asaf thankfully offered would make this option superfluous, if I understand it correctly. --Nicole Ebber (WMDE) (talk) 07:38, 3 September 2013 (UTC)
I think practicality will mean that travel costs (at least the cost of getting to the place of the venue) will be funded locally (and the money for that will most likely come from the fundraising revenue on Wikimedia sites; accommodation itself could technically be booked as a single expense, and by providing meals we could smooth over some of the awkwardness caused by the differences in purchasing power of various attendees). There are however a few things that can be kept in mind, given that the money is mostly (but of course, not totally) coming from the same source and going towards the same end:
On the virtual level, we could start by tallying up the travel costs of all participants as well as the organisation costs of the conference itself, so that we can use this as the basis of comparison of different bids, or of conferences in different years.
On the practical level, having tallied or estimated the total costs, we can deduct any that has been allocated through other grants and set aside the rest as a guarantee to cover the participation of everyone else. –Bence (talk) 15:37, 4 September 2013 (UTC)

Goals, programme and participants of the conference[edit]

The process of coming up with the goals and topics should be guided by a programme committee, supported by external facilitation and paid staff to make sure that we keep the schedule. Input is collected from all involved parties, the committee comes up with a draft programme schedule, already taking different conference formats (conventional, open etc.) into account. As soon as the programme is available in a beta version, the chapters decide upon which delegates they will send: This gives the chapters the chance to pick experts in certain fields on the conference agenda and does not force them to just send the same people year after year – just because they don’t know which topics will be covered before they start making their travel arrangements. This means that the programme must be fixed before the end of the year.

As I said above, this is just a suggestion. I am looking forward to your thoughts and look forward to bringing this discussion to the next level. As time is running and FDC proposals are due within one month, I hope we come up with a common decision within the next two weeks. Thanks, --Nicole Ebber (WMDE) (talk) 14:36, 30 August 2013 (UTC)

Letter from WMF[edit]

(sent Aug 30th on Wikimedia-l)

Hello All:

Following our most recent, successful, community gathering in Hong Kong - A BIG thank you, again, to everyone who made it such an event to remember - we are looking ahead to the annual Wikimedia Conference (AKA Chapters' Meeting.)

As many of you know, we typically await the offer of a specific group to host the event each year. While this process has more or less worked in the past, we are increasingly aware that waiting until close to the gathering to decide on the date and the location creates an unnecessary inconvenience to those planning to attend and results in higher fees for travel and lodging that could be avoided if we worked together to plan further ahead.

Wikimedia Deutschland had helpfully started this conversation about the future of the Wikimedia Conference, including the question of settling the host group. Regrettably, there has been practically no engagement with that page so far. (For my part, I have deliberately been waiting for a few movement groups to speak first, as I wanted to avoid "priming" the conversation with the (perceived) weight of WMF's voice.)

It has occurred to us that two of the reasons that we are not able to plan further ahead may be 1. the somewhat vague nature of the planning process and 2. that groups who may want to host hesitate because of an uncertainty regarding the costs involved in hosting such a large event.

Therefore, we would like to provide some basic information about the Wikimedia Conference and begin a community conversation regarding how me might work together to set the date and location by, say, November of the year preceding the event; thus giving those who want to attend plenty of time to plan and saving the movement and each of the groups the higher cost of last minute lodging arrangements and airline ticket purchases.

Additionally, planning ahead will allow all of the chapters who wish to send participants to contribute to the agenda for the gathering; thus making sure that all of the issues that the participants would like to discuss are addressed at this annual conference.

First a bit about the purpose of the Wikimedia Conference[edit]

  • An opportunity for Wikimedia movement organizations to meet face-to-face and share ideas about projects and practices and to discuss any unresolved issues that may have come up during the past year.
  • A venue for one of the quarterly Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees meetings and an opportunity for the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees and Wikimedia movement organizations to meet and talk.
  • A venue for the Funds Dissemination Committee to meet to assess the funding proposals for Round 2 of the current year and provide recommendations on those proposals to the WMF Board.

We thought that beginning a discussion regarding "hosting requirements" i.e. venue size, accessibility of lodging near the venue, handicapped accessibility, ease of air and ground transit in and out of the venue location, visa application process, Internet access, catering capabilities, and chapter and volunteer support available to organize the conference and to provide support during the conference itself, would be helpful.

To help facilitate the discussion, we have provided some information regarding past chapter meetings that may be useful for chapters considering the possibility of hosting for 2014 and beyond. For those who have hosted in the past, some of this will be repetitive (and you may have input to add) for those who have not, please feel free to send along any questions you may have that are not covered in the information provided

Logistical Needs for the Annual Wikimedia Conference[edit]

  • A meeting venue that can accommodate a group of 200 - 250 attendees
  • Lodging either at the meeting venue or nearby to accommodate 200 - 250 attendees
  • Smaller meeting rooms at the venue to accommodate the Board Meeting and the FDC deliberations (rooms to hold approximately 15 people).
  • Reliable Internet access at both the venue and the lodging facilities.
  • Adequate either staff or volunteer support to secure the facilities, coordinate the conference and assist attendees in the visa application process as needed
  • Access to international travel ports no farther than an hour's ground travel (train/bus/taxi/car) from the conference venue
  • Adequate support facilities - restaurants, print/copy shops, medical facilities, electronics stores no farther than 30 minutes ground travel from the conference venue

Financing a Wikimedia Conference[edit]

  • Ideally, groups that send delegates to the Wikimedia Conference are responsible for financially supporting those who attend - including all lodging, travel and non-conference meals. In practice, that has never been possible so far, and groups that do not have funding for attending (often acquired by budgeting for it in a broader WMF grant) are supported by the hosting group (again, possibly funded by a WMF grant to the hosts)
  • The Wikimedia Foundation is responsible for financially supporting the participation of Foundation staff, FDC Members and WMF Board Members - including all lodging, travel and non-conference meals.
  • To enable more chapters to offer their city/country as the hosting entity, the Foundation has made the decision to financially support the hosting expenses for the Wikimedia Conference itself; to include the cost of the main conference venue and miscellaneous meeting rooms, the cost of internet access at that venue, the cost of meals provided at the conference venue during the conference for all participants and any group ground transit needs related specifically to the meetings at the conference. Additional reasonable/miscellaneous costs may also be covered per discussions between the hosting groups and the Chief of Finance and Administration at the WMF offices in San Francisco.

We look forward to any and all input and suggestions as we work together to refine the planning and execution of the annual Wikimedia Conference.

Thank you,

Asaf Bartov (WMF Grants) talk 14:47, 30 August 2013 (UTC)
Just a small addition that the Affiliations Committee is also planning on having annual meetings at Wikimedia Conferences starting in 2014, which means that 3 board rooms for ~15 people each would be desirable. –Bence (talk) 15:48, 4 September 2013 (UTC)

Bidding process for hosting the next Wikimedia Conference[edit]

In the past, it was always a “first come, first served” thing, no real process. Starting with the event in 2014, we are setting up a very low-key, fast and unbureaucratic bidding process to decide upon the location. Just taking the logistics and location for granted will help us focus on the content and sustainability of the event.

The applications should be made on Meta (until the end of September), a decision should be available before the mid October. The winning organisation will be responsible for all the logistics, as in: venue, catering, travel and visa arrangements, accommodation, technical equipment, social events, communication with and support for the participants, coordination with the programme committee and the facilitators.

The process of coming up with the goals and topics are led by a programme committee, supported by the facilitators and probably staff/contractor. Input is collected from all involved parties, then the committee comes up with a draft programme schedule. As soon as the programme is available in a beta version, the organisations decide upon which delegates they will send: This gives them the chance to pick experts in certain fields on the conference agenda and does not force them to just send the same people year after year – just because they don’t know which topics will be covered before they start making their travel arrangements. This means that the programme must be fixed before the end of the year.

Timeline[edit]

  • 15-30 September: Form the programme committee Yes check.svg Done
  • 15-30 September: Form the location committee Yes check.svg Done
  • 15-30 September: Bidding process Yes check.svg Done
  • 15 October: Location committee: Decision about the hosting organisation Yes check.svg Done
  • October-November: Programme committee: Collect input and draft the agenda
  • December: Programme committee: Present beta version of the schedule
  • January: Participants: Start making travel arrangements

Logistical needs for the annual Wikimedia Conference[edit]

When applying for hosting the Wikimedia Conference, please make sure to be able to provide the following:

  • Hosting a 4 day conference (Thu-Sun); including social events
  • A meeting venue that can accommodate a group of 200 - 250 attendees, with one big room to accommodate all participants and at least 4 smaller workshop/session rooms.
  • Plus 3 smaller meeting rooms at or near the venue to accommodate the WMF Board Meeting, the FDC deliberations and the annual Affiliations Committee meeting (rooms to hold approximately 15 people each).
  • Lodging either at the meeting venue or nearby to accommodate 200 - 250 attendees
  • Reliable Internet access at both the venue and the lodging facilities.
  • Catering on site (including lunch, refreshments and coffee for at least two coffee breaks, taking different food options/diets into account (vegetarian, gluten-free, halal, etc.); ideally also dinner and drinks during social programmes; breakfast needs to be included if not provided by the chosen hostel/hotel)
  • Adequate support by either staff or volunteers to secure the facilities, coordinate the conference and assist attendees in the travel arrangements and visa application process as needed.
  • Access to international travel ports no farther than an hour's ground travel (train/bus/taxi/car) from the conference venue
  • Adequate support facilities - restaurants, print/copy shops, medical facilities, electronics stores no farther than 30 minutes ground travel from the conference venue

Application process[edit]

For the applications, see Wikimedia Conference 2014/Bids.

Location committee[edit]

We are forming a a small location committee (5 to max 7 people: 2-4 chapter/organisation members, 1 AffCom, 1 WMF staff, 1 FDC member) who make the final decision about the hosting organisation.

Chapter/organisation/group members[edit]

This is an open call for 2-4 committee members from chapters and organisations. Are you interested in joining the committee? Please add your name here.

There should be one member from last-year's-organizing-group (WMIT) as an allocated seat; they have the freshest experience.

WMF[edit]

Asaf Bartov

AffCom[edit]

Bence Damokos

FDC[edit]

Mike Peel

Ok, let's do it![edit]

Thanks to Asaf and Bence for giving their valuable input to the set-up of this process. Since WMDE has kind of a traditional interest in having a good conference, I am happy to take a leading role in organising this process. Any help is highly appreciated! I am looking forward to an exciting Wikimedia Conference 2014. \o/

Short Disclaimer: WMDE might apply for hosting it again, this is why I won't be part of the location committee.

--Nicole Ebber (WMDE) (talk) 14:48, 13 September 2013 (UTC)

  • Thanks for setting up this simple but clear process. --Nemo 13:22, 16 September 2013 (UTC)
  • Congratulations to those who dreamed this up - nice to see the conference hosting opening up and a clear and simple bidding process. Bishdatta (talk) 05:03, 25 September 2013 (UTC)

Results[edit]

The final decision has been posted on the bids page, we also invite further feedback on the process there. –Bence (talk) 13:27, 12 October 2013 (UTC)

Programme team[edit]

moved to Wikimedia_Conference_2014/Programme_team

References[edit]