Wikimania 2008/Bids/Cape Town/Q&A

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Wikimania 2008 official bids:
Alexandria | Atlanta | Cape Town
Questions and Answers:
Alexandria | Atlanta | Cape Town


This page is for questions and answers from the Jury to the Cape Town bidding team, to follow the presentation meeting September 23.


Budget[edit]

Hi, could you please give a budget? How much are you planning to spend on which issues, what is your total budget? How much do you expect to gather from which resources? Please be fair, and don't make it look better as it truly is. Thanks. Effeietsanders 16:14, 23 September 2007 (UTC)
The budget can be viewed at Wikimania_2008/Bids/Cape_Town_Budget. Greenman 00:59, 28 September 2007 (UTC)
Hi, as for budget, could you please give details about venue? It is uncertain 1) how much the venue costs per day, and 2) who will pay for it (will it be offered freely by courtesy or should the organization team raise the money for covering the venue expense)? Thanks. --Aphaia 07
13, 25 September 2007 (UTC)
The official quote for the venue is R360 696 (~$52 000) for the 4 days. We will need to raise the money to cover this. Greenman 00:59, 28 September 2007 (UTC)

Thanks for your reply. The following questions (mainly related to this budget) pop into mind:

  1. How stable is the rate of Rand-USD?
  2. You mention 'meals' in the budget. Could you please elaborate whether this is lunch or dinner?
  3. You mention 'Scholarships' for USD 43000. Could you please explain how exactly you came to this number, i.e. how many scholarships you suspect to be able to provide this way, and what a scholarship exactly includes?
  4. You mention 'transportation cost' also to and from the venue. I now realize that the venue is 5 minutes driving away from the accomodation. Could you please elaborate on the possibilities of public transport, walking and how you imagined to provide a 'drive'?
  5. For the 'Speakers travel' the same question as for scholarships: How many speakers do you expect to be able to cover with this? And what type of speakers did you have in mind for this possibility?
  6. You mention 'insurance'. Could you please specify for what exactly you want to insure yourself? (annulation, fire, accidents, legal liability?)
  7. What kind of costs do you expect to make in 'registration' and 'administration'? I know you derived these figures from the previous wikimania, but I could imagine that these numbers are different with other numbers of volunteers and in another country. Please elaborate a bit.

Thanks! Effeietsanders 07:01, 28 September 2007 (UTC)

I can't comment on much of this, Greenman knows the intricacies of the budget. However: Rand-Dollar & Rand-Euro is pretty stable, see Yahoo!'s graph. I believe Meals == Dinner, Greenman? Transport wise, if many people are housed at UCT, hopefully a shuttle service can be organized. -- Stefanor 23:40, 29 September 2007 (UTC)
Eek, from 7.8 - 6.8 rand for 1 dollar is not really stable to me :P (not that the dollar is stable atm...) Compared with the euro it seems more stable though. Anyway, it's at lest not huge :) I would really like some more info on the accommodation vs venue issue. But I'll wait for Greenman on that :) Effeietsanders 19:24, 30 September 2007 (UTC)
  1. Here's where I pretend to be an economist. But don't worry, real economists get it wrong just as often :) The South African Rand is one of the more volatile exchange rates, being openly tradeable, and with South Africa being a country with relatively limited reserves. That said, the Rand is unlikely to massively strengthen; it should either stay at a similar level, or drop, meaning things should be of a similar price or cheaper, rather than more expensive, for international visitors by 2008. The only likely exception is for visitors from the US, with the US dollar trending downwards against most international currencies. But this would probably be at the same rate, or slightly slower, than against most international currencies.
  2. Dinner. The actual quote is R70 per person, but we've made an assumption that not everyone will want to eat the provided meal - after all, Cape Town is famous for its restaurants.
  3. We realise that we are quite far from most Wikimedians, and want to make the conference available to as wide a range of people as possible. R300 000 should provide for 50 people, fully-subsidised (at an average of R6000 travel costs) to attend. In reality, I expect a large number to be partial sponsorships, so that we can extend this number further.
  4. We envisage a shuttle service. UCT provides a shuttle service for students normally, and the bus company also provides this service. It's too far to walk from the accomodation to the convention centre, and UCT is a bit isolated, so public transport is not ideal. The train station is about 15-20 minutes walk, and the main road, where the minibus taxis can be caught, about 10 minutes (downhill, back again is longer as it's up a steep hill). Sedan taxis can of course be arranged at any time for people to come and go as they please.
  5. R80 000 can cover a lot of transport costs. It's perhaps an excessively generous estimate, based on the previous Wikimania. Assuming an average of R2000 each (some speakers would come from South Africa, bringing down the average), that could 40 cover people. We haven't got so far as to plan who the speakers would be yet.
  6. I would expect this to be accidental medical insurance. Again, it's a hopefully generous estimate based on the previous Wikimania - the details haven't been worked out yet.
  7. I expect to have volunteers cover much of this. It's really a contingency in the budget based on this not being possible. We used the previous Wikimania's figures, as we can't imagine it going beyond this.
I'm fairly experienced in developing budgets, having been head of an IT department for a number of years, running my own company, and being a director of another. Generally, the real situation should be better than the budget :) I know the opposite is probably true to win a bid, but I'd prefer to set the budgeted expenses as in all likelihood higher than they will actually be. This gives us a sponsorship target. If we fall short, we should still be able to cover everything, while if we meet or exceed the target, we can really expand areas such as scholarships, or improved accommodation. Expecting 500 delegates is optimistic, given the 300-500 estimate. Certainly, all 500 won't need accomodation, or meals. The real numbers should be quite a lot lower than these.
I will add the details outlined here to the budget notes. Greenman 11:20, 1 October 2007 (UTC)

Strength as African venue[edit]

I'd put a same question I gave Alex team. What is your strength compared with Alexandria, specially regarding the evangelical point of Wikimedia and Open Source in for the Africa in entire? How do you think the conference in Cape Town can involve other African countries? --Aphaia
I wouldn't like to compare our bid to any other in particular. I'll leave the judges with the unpleasant task of deciding how our strengths compare to any of the other cities. To list the main strengths again:
  1. Cape Town in particular, and South Africa in general, have an extremely vibrant Free Software and Free Content community, which provides a natural overlap with Wikimedia's vision. Examples include iCommons (where South Africans are the 2nd most prevalent contributers), Translate.org, the Free Software Geek Dinner, the 27 Dinner, the Freedom Toaster, tuXlabs, CLUG. Related events include the Digital Freedom Expo and Digital Citizen Indaba (in Grahamstown).
  2. We're in Africa, and the Southern Hemisphere, and bringing the event here would expose Wikimedia to a whole new region geographically.
  3. Cape Town is relatively inexpensive.
  4. We have 11 official languages, and are building momentum around getting usuable wikis in each of these languages, and Free Content and Software in general. The recent 50 party was a start, and the first of the Wikipedia Academies is being scheduled for early 2008, irrespective of the Wikimania bid.
  5. We're a great tourist destination, with a great infrastructure for visitors.
Greenman 15:51, 26 September 2007 (UTC)

And as subsidiary question:

You evaluate your own strength and say "The presence of Wikimania in Cape Town will provide a unique opportunity for native speakers of these languages to attend, bringing a much-needed multi-lingual perspective." Did you have any local conference or meeting which those small Wikipedia editors joined? If so, how many editors from those languages showed and how that occasion seemed to empower them? If not, why, and how do you think the coming conference will affect those language communities? --Aphaia
Yes, that is a good point. The conference would certainly spur a spike in Wikipedia editing, and probably persuade the multilingual attendees to work on the less popular languages. Just reminding them that these other languages *exist* on Wikipedia could only have a positive impact. But the languages are geographically discreet, and probably only a handful of South African languages would be represented. And one can only hope that the editing would continue. Our bid has already attracted media attention: there was an article on IOL this morning that mentioned this problem. I can only assume this would continue, and the press-storm of Wikimania in Cape Town would be spread the word and spurn people into working the less-represented languages. -- Stefanor 23:09, 27 September 2007 (UTC)
At the moment, of the local languages, only the Afrikaans Wikipedia has a community in any sense. A number of contributers regularly attend events such as the Geek Dinner, which aren't specifically about Wikimedia projects. The Wikipedia Academies aim to develop these communities before Wikimania, which, as a high-profile event, will attract further new contributors. Stefanor is right in that the 11 language communities are geographically discreet. There are only 3 (English, Afrikaans and Xhosa) that are found near Cape Town in substantial numbers, so it's likely that the other 8 languages won't be well-represented. As for the effect, we expect to see a viable Xhosa wikipedia, and community around it, start to take shape. This can be used as a platform to expand the other languages. Greenman 01:21, 28 September 2007 (UTC)

Accessibility[edit]

There seem to be several countries whose citizens need to visa to enter to SA and we accepted attendees for past Wikimanias, including India, Pakistan, The Philippine, Cape Verde, Tanzania and China. Is there any country SA has no embassy (either they recognize each other diplomatically or not), and hence we should be make a special arrangement? --Aphaia 10:14, 25 September 2007 (UTC)

I'm not aware of any particular difficulties for residents of a particular country. Visas cost R425 (about US$47.00 or €43.00). See the South African Home Affairs page for a list of requirements, as well as links to lists of embassies, etc. Note that Cape Verde is on the list of those exempt from visas for visits of less than 30 days. I've also read[1] that Indian visitors are not required to pay for their visa, but haven't seen mention this on any official sites. I believe that South Africa is one of the countries that Chinese citizens are allowed to visit. There are South African missions in China, India, Pakistan and the Philippines. See here for a full list of South African representation abroad. Greenman 14:44, 26 September 2007 (UTC)
Thanks for your reply, Greenman. The Cape Verde issue was my fault. Apologies. As for other countries, the website you gave me tells SA runs its embassies in most of countries I mentioned on the above. There are still countries where SA settles no embassy, but the problem seems to be smaller than I was afraid before. :) --Aphaia 15:30, 26 September 2007 (UTC)
You don't actually need to visit an embassy to get a visa. If it is too far away (or the closest one is in a nearby country), you can courier the paperwork. explained here. -- Stefanor 08:43, 27 September 2007 (UTC)
For the benefit of future bids, I should mention that as your passport is needed you may need to visit a physical embassy in some cases. The Malaysian passport specifically forbids sending it by mail and I'm sure there are some other countries that do so. While the South African embassy/high commission is probably not going to care if you send your passport by mail, in the event it is somehow lost I strongly suspect you will be fined or may be denied a passport for a time so people may not wish to do so (of course in all cases it's your responsibility but there is likely to be a big difference in the problems you will face if you do something which is forbidden). Nil Einne 16:02, 23 October 2007 (UTC)
I should also mention that Q11 in that FAQ states that the South African government will expedite the issuing visas for conference attendees. -- Stefanor 22:31, 27 September 2007 (UTC)


Questions from IRC meeting[edit]

Questions that were asked in the IRC meeting are listed here (reworded for clarity), and the answers expanded upon. Please see the Public meeting log for the original transcripts.

African language attendance rate[edit]

How will you improve the attendance rate for African languages Wikimedian communities in Wikimania Cape Town 2008?
Improving it will not be hard, since I believe only 4 Africans attended the 2007 Wikimania in Taipei. :) Over the year, there will be Wikipedia academies organised. These will be particularly be aimed at getting tertiary students to contribute in their own languages, and getting them to attend Wikimania is a natural progression from this. We will also hook into existing structures, such as Translate.org, and the University of the Western Cape, which organised the Digital Freedom Expo and is highly supportive of the Wikimedia Foundation's goals. Greenman 18:55, 26 September 2007 (UTC)

Motivation[edit]

Why do you want to organize wikimania?
As bid coordinator, my personal reasons are that I love the Wikimedia vision, and want to share it as widely as possible. Hosting Wikimania in Cape Town increases exposure to a whole new set of people. I've been involved in Wikimedia projects for years, and have seen local involvement grow. I have a vision of seeing usable versions of Wikipedia in all the official South African languages. Regardless of Wikimania, during the year there are events being planned to boost the local language wikis, and I can see the Wikimania conference culminating as the high point of the increased exposure over the next year.
I do also believe that the experiences gained in the situation here, with strong government support for the growth in local languages, with so many different languages and cultures, with resource constraints, with a strange blend of very highly developed and very poorly developed societies and infrastructures right next to each other, will be a great learning experience for Wikimania participants, and the Wikimedia Foundation in its quest to grow the projects outside of developed areas. Greenman 13:34, 26 September 2007 (UTC)

Sponsorship[edit]

How much of the sponsorship will be left for scholarships?
The budget is available at Wikimania_2008/Bids/Cape_Town_Budget. Most sponsorship has not yet been secured, so we've estimated the figure required at R300 000 (~$42 000) based on the previous Wikimania. Greenman 01:02, 28 September 2007 (UTC)

Venue[edit]

Do you have a venue combined with accommodation?
The Arabella Sheraton hotel is combined with the convention centre. However, it is 5-star, and hardly cheap. It's hard to clarify accomodation, until we have finalised the sponsorship. Wikimania 2008/Bids/Cape Town#Accommodation -- Stefanor 08:49, 27 September 2007 (UTC)
The accomodation listed in our budget (the University of Cape Town) is not combined with the venue. We are still negotiating to see if closer accomodation can be made viable. Greenman 01:05, 28 September 2007 (UTC)
It should be noted that there is another hotel over the road, and many more within short walking distance. -- Stefanor 00:09, 30 September 2007 (UTC)

Team[edit]

How many people are in the team? And how many of them were at the past wikimanias?
There have been 15 people contributing, 11 formally on the bid team, of whom about 7 have made substantial contributions so far. If Cape Town is chosen as the host, the bid team will be reformulated to focus on the event organisation. Most of the current bid team members will be involved, but we expect to bring in others as well.
None of the current bid team members have attended a Wikimania before. However, Heather Ford, Executive Director at iCommons has, and is willing to provide assistance should Cape Town be chosen. We also want to learn from previous host cities, and plan to connect with previous teams where they're willing to lend assistance. Greenman 13:56, 26 September 2007 (UTC)

Legacy and innovation[edit]

Since I found my common question for teams each miss here, I'd submit it again. Thank you for your answer in advance:) Aph.

What do you plan to succeed from the past Wikimania as its virtues? And what will you not succeed intentionally and alter or replace? --Aphaia 06
35, 2 October 2007 (UTC)