Talk:WikiConference USA/2015

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2015: Potential venues[edit]

New York (New York)
  • Pros: An annual history of running this event or events like it. Long experience and contacts. The OpenStreetMap conference will take place in the United Nations building in 2015 so maybe WikiConference USA could have a joint event with them:
  • Cons: Variation in venue is a good thing, and attracts those who couldn't otherwise come. NYC volunteers from last year are tired and would be more enthusiastic to support a conference elsewhere. The venue used in 2014 is not available again, and it is not immediately obvious that an organization would donate a space like that again.
Boston (Northeastern, +)
  • Pros: This has support from librarians at the university, and inquiries were made into available rooms. Some professors working on education w/ Wikipedia have also asked about space at Harvard for an education-focused event next year.
  • Cons: Many local Bostonians are tapped out during the spring, and not keen on running a large conference. Not ideal for a 300 person event. Not great for city rotation: most people who can get to Boston could get to New York almost as easily.
  • Neutral: Local organizers needed. There's experience on the East Coast in running events of various kinds, from Wikimanias to the first WCUSA. This is also a con, in that we've never had large events elsewhere, and participation has been strongly biased towards people in the northeast corridor.
  • Questions: Is a fiscal sponsor other than the WMF lined up? A venue donation would be especially useful. Could we run a more local or library-focused event at NEU instead? What discussions have been had so far with various supporters?
    • Wikimedia DC can serve as a fiscal sponsor for a WikiConference anywhere in the country, in the absence of a more suitable local fiscal sponsor. harej (talk) 15:08, 17 October 2014 (UTC)
University of Washington (Seattle)
  • Pros: There are a lot of interesting wiki-researchers there, at both comp sci and communication schools. We've never had a big US event in that region, and surprisingly few on the west coast. Costs of hosting and lodging would be lower than around SF/NY/Boston. They are already planning for a wiki event in 2016, so have thought about what this might look like.
  • Cons: Venue availability needs to be confirmed, and local organizers willing to run an event. (check with Mako). Cascadia Wikimedians User Group has tentatively expressed willingness to move forward with a 2016 event but is hesitant about 2015.
  • Questions: Is a fiscal sponsor other than the WMF lined up? A venue donation would be especially useful.
    • Wikimedia DC can serve as a fiscal sponsor for a WikiConference anywhere in the country, in the absence of a more suitable local fiscal sponsor. harej (talk) 15:08, 17 October 2014 (UTC)
      • I am loathe to overcommit myself... but I know Seattle and the UW well (though I don't live there anymore), and could likely help with organizing something here. -- phoebe | talk 17:22, 9 November 2014 (UTC)
      • Also note that Seattle would likely be somewhat later in the year, since the school year at UW runs through mid-june. -- phoebe | talk 17:25, 9 November 2014 (UTC)
    • While I am ready to support a WikiConference USA in our Cascadia Wikimedian user group's bioregion whenever we collectively decide to do it here, I would prefer 2016. I feel that is the time frame in which we could do it properly. I am also part of the Seattle OpenStreetMap community. Along with New York & Saint Louis, we were one of three groups who bid for the State of the Map U.S. for 2015. This year it went to New York & will be at the U.N. I believe that we Seattle OpenStreetMap folks will try again for 2016, & it sure would be nice for us both to do a joint conference. Peaceray (talk) 02:08, 14 November 2014 (UTC)
  • coming back to this late... a joint state of the map/wikiconference would be amazing, user:peaceray :) -- phoebe | talk 00:17, 26 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Portland?
  • San Diego?
  • Add your suggestion here ...

General Comments[edit]

I'll add, and this is somewhat self-serving since I am a librarian, that if folks decide on a West Coast meetup the big annual library association conference will be in San Francisco June 25-30, 2015 [1]. So there's a large potential audience of librarians, if both conferences are near each other.

AmandaRR123 (talk) 14:25, 17 October 2014 (UTC)

    •  :) Thanks Amanda! SF is a natural choice for lots of other reasons too (the WMF is based there). -- phoebe | talk 17:24, 9 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Hello, I was an organizer for the NYC conference. I live in New York these days but am from Seattle and would help organize a conference anywhere. The biggest problem and deciding factor right now is finding organizers. There is a sweet deal for the right kind of community group here. I expect the Wikimedia Foundation would fund a nice conference anywhere in the US just as they did for the NYC conference, if only a group of organizers stepped up to host it and if only it were mostly volunteer-run. The most natural way to organize the conference would be first to identify an organizing team on the ground to work with venue and conference services (like catering), then organize a venue, then have a system in place to manage accounting practices. If that much is done, people will attend the conference, and volunteers will propose talks. Is there a city identified which right now has at least three people who would lead an organization effort if more people joined them? Blue Rasberry (talk) 15:07, 17 October 2014 (UTC)
  • Questions: I hear WikiEd may be interested in supporting a 2015 event. What specifics do people have in mind re: what education programs or focus might look like? SJ talk 
Sj Without special planning, it is likely that subsequent conferences would have focus of the last conference as demonstrated in that conference's schedule. If anyone set a theme for a future conference then I expect that would drive a focus in submissions. Blue Rasberry (talk) 11:38, 18 October 2014 (UTC)
  • Having been on the organizing committee for 2014, I'd say that NOW (October) is the time to start organizing. The longer you wait, the more difficult it will be making decisions without the stress of a deadline. Of course this conference needs committed volunteers to run, but I'd offer that, considering the birth of the Boston and Cascadia groups, having a WikiConference in one of those places could quickly prove its worthiness to become a regular chapter. Kosboot (talk) 17:56, 20 October 2014 (UTC)
  • While I am ready to support the Cascadia Wikimedians user group whenever the WikiConference community decides to hold the Wikiconference in our Cascadia bioregion, I think we would be remiss in neglecting to look at the option of either not having a WikiConference 2015 or having a scaled-back one. Why would I suggest this? Well, if we aspire to become WikiConference North America / América del Norte / Amérique du Nord (see Need more inclusive name discussion below), then we should be doing our utmost to support WikiMania 2015 in Mexico. That's what the OpenStreetMap folks more or less did. They had no State of the Map U.S. 2011 because the international State Of The Map that year took place in the United States. Peaceray (talk) 01:53, 14 November 2014 (UTC)

Organizing and fiscal sponsorship[edit]

  • Harej says that WMDC "can serve as a fiscal sponsor for a WikiConference anywhere in the country, in the absence of a more suitable local fiscal sponsor". But there has been scant interest from people in organizing the event in 2015. Cascadia Wikimedians may be willing to organize an event in 2016. Can we get a list of volunteers who would be willing to organize a 2015 event? I can't commit myself, I have too many other activities. I suppose this event could skip a year if necessary, but co-locating the event with OpenStreetMap in New York or with the librarians meetup in San Francisco might make things easier for 2015 if people are willing to organize the event. --Pine 19:36, 9 November 2014 (UTC)
    • I am having preliminary conversations with prospective organizers over email. Once a group / team is interested in a firm commitment I will make sure they continue the conversation on this talk page. harej (talk) 21:19, 9 November 2014 (UTC)

Need more inclusive name[edit]

The last WikiConference USA could have been more inclusive of people in Canada and Mexico. This event could be called the "WikiConference" to be more inclusive. "WikiConference North America" could work, except that there may be interest in Spanish speakers south of Mexico joining also and from no further away than people within the United States itself.

We could move this to "WikiConference", but then if somewhere else in the world someone else starts a WikiConference, then new names would be needed. I wish we had name that included more of the stakeholders and could last for a while. Blue Rasberry (talk) 17:21, 24 October 2014 (UTC)

Of course, I have no problem with a more inclusive or multinational conference, but I also wonder if there are benefits to having an event specific to the US. Given there is not a national chapter or many other opportunities for American contributors to network, plan and collaborate in person, would we be diluting the experience a little by inviting people from nations who do have access to national chapters and possibly even their own national conferences? (If Canada and Mexico do not have national events, then pardon my ignorance.) Does interjecting Canadian and Mexican projects decrease the ability for Americans to dive deeper into what is happening at regional levels such as New England, Cascadia, Southern California, Texas, etc., or focus on forming a more united Coalition? Just something to think about. I could equally advocate for the benefits of having a multinational or even multilingual North American conference, and if this could be pulled off logistically and financially, I think it would be a great benefit to the movement. But I do think this event would take on a different feel than one that was more US-centric. --Another Believer (talk) 18:39, 24 October 2014 (UTC)
Another Believer It would be my intent to not expand scope. I propose this to address several problems:
  1. Canadian people always show up to these events anyway, and their culture is very similar to US culture so we share the same concerns. It seems strange to exclude by nationality when almost no one can distinguish between Canadians and Americans.
  2. Mexican people would show up, and it would not usually be more expensive to offer this country scholarships than it would be to offer them in the US. However, historically they have not attended. This is a problem because few or no Spanish-speaking Wikipedians participate in US events, and the community has a problem for lack of outreach in this sector. Recruiting Mexican participants might be easier and less expensive than surfacing Spanish speakers in the United States.
I am not sure what problems this could cause. Your concerns are valid, and I do not want to distract from the benefits to be gained in the US. I suppose what bothers me the most is the lack of Spanish language participation in the US, and I thought including Mexico would be the most cost-effective way to address this. Blue Rasberry (talk) 19:07, 24 October 2014 (UTC)
If we already have Canadian participation and if there is interest in expanding scope, we could change the name to Wikiconference CAN/US or Wikiconference North America. --Pine 07:01, 12 November 2014 (UTC)


Happy New Year! I've heard some rumblings about plans for this year, but I wonder what is "official" and what is rumor. Does anyone wish to speak to current plans for WikiConference USA 2015? I think it would be great to get the discussion(s) started as soon as possible so we can have input from as many Wikimedians as possible. -Another Believer (talk) 18:39, 6 January 2015 (UTC)

Columbus Day Weekend possibility[edit]

I just wanted to let people know, that we are thinking about holding the 2015 event over Columbus Day weekend in October at a possibly fabulous location in DC, to provide some breathing room after Wikimania, while still making it easier for those who need days off to travel.--Pharos (talk) 16:48, 19 March 2015 (UTC)

We spent 7 months organizing WikiConference 2014 - heads up if you want to start working on it. -- Kosboot (talk) 19:45, 1 May 2015 (UTC)

Mailing list, or some other forum for attendees?[edit]

Need to see if someone wants to share room expenses and such. Plus it might be nice to just "e-meet" some people before the event.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  07:50, 29 September 2015 (UTC)

You might try poking around the conference wiki (which at the moment I am posting appears to be having technical difficulties?). -Another Believer (talk) 16:49, 30 September 2015 (UTC)

Needs perpetual disambiguation[edit]

This event (and its 2016+ versions) need to be disambiguated from similar events, like WikiConference 2015 (concluded in September 2015 in Katy, Texas; not sure were it'll be in 2016), Wikimedia Conference USA (concluded in May 2015 in Berlin; not sure where it will be in 2016), etc. It will be very helpful if these events "See also" each other consistently, so people can find info on the actual conference(s) they plan (or may want to plan) to attend. It's very easy to end up on the wrong page, as I just did, twice.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  11:42, 9 October 2015 (UTC)