Tips for Wikimania submissions

From Meta, a Wikimedia project coordination wiki
(English) This is an essay. It expresses the opinions and ideas of some Wikimedians but may not have wide support. This is not policy on Meta, but it may be a policy or guideline on other Wikimedia projects. Feel free to update this page as needed, or use the discussion page to propose major changes.

This essay was written by members of the Wikimania Programme Committee to help writers of Wikimania submissions. These are not guidelines, requirements, or official recommendations. They are tips provided by Wikimedians (mostly volunteers) involved with reviewing, scoring, and deciding on the submissions. They are in no way endorsed by the Wikimania Committee, local Wikimedia conference organizers, or the Wikimedia Foundation.

It is not a popularity contest
The interested attendees section might help us measure interest - but a quality submission is far better, and will ultimately get more attendees anyway. Spending time on developing your submission will help much more than recruiting people to sign up as an interested attendee. Instead, consider encouraging people to provide feedback. Also, do not sign yourself up under interested attendees, it is assumed that you are interested in attending your own submission.
When a member of the Wikimania Programme rates a submission, he asks him/herself "would I like to attend this lecture", usually, if the answer is in the negative, only then he/she will check the interested attendees section, so the effects of this section exists, but are small.
Write a good abstract that is at least 300 words
Saying "The title explains everything" just is not good enough. If you are planning to fill 60, 30, or 15 minutes, being able to write at least 300 words about what you are discussing and why it is important will help draw attendees, help the committee understand your submission better, and help you better prepare. The length requirement is there to help the Programme Committee see the level of English and the articulateness (is there such a word?) of the submitter (which is a factor in scoring).
Seek and respond to feedback
You have until the submission deadline to modify your proposal - use that time!
Do not wait until the last minute
Yes - you can wait until the last possible minute to submit your proposal - but you are cheating yourself out of time to modify your submission and seek public feedback. You also run the risk of being automatically disqualified for submitting it late.
Fill out the whole submission form
The more information you can provide, the more likely the committee will be able to understand your vision.
Pick just one track - and do pick a track
You know your submission the best and should have input on which track it should be considered for.
No - you do not deserve special treatment
Being a veteran, programme committee member, Wikimedia Foundation or affiliate staff, board member, cabal leader, or any other community status symbol is not a reason to submit a shorter submission, a late submission, or request other special exceptions.
Consider the less crowded tracks and types
There are usually 1-2 tracks that are clearly going to have a majority of the submissions, consider if your submission may fit into another track. Stay true to your original intention (if your submission is clearly in the wrong track, it will just be moved anyway), but be open-minded to how your submission may fit within different tracks.
Usually there is less time for presentations (and more presentations submitted), thus submitting a discussion or a workshop have a better chance of being approved.
Avoid submitting soapbox or micro-issue submissions
There are many places within the Wikimedia community to express your concerns about unique issues (such as Village Pumps or the Wikimedia Forum. Wikimania is not one of those places, as it is more intended to discuss community-wide issues. In other words, please avoid submissions which discussion one specific ArbCom case or one specific problem on just one wiki. You might instead want to consider a meetup or meeting outside of the official program schedule.
Members of the Wikimania Programme Committee do not bite, share a hive mind, or represent cabals
The members of the Wikimania Programme Committee are selected based on their experience, knowledge of the Wikimedia community, interest in volunteering, and ability to contribute to that year's programmatic needs. While some members of the committee serve multiple years, the overall membership changes each year based on input from the local organizers, past committee members, the Wikimedia Committee, and Wikimedia Foundation. The goal is to bring together a diverse group of individuals with unique perspectives. By design, some submissions that appeal to some members may not appeal to others. While members are influenced by their experiences and involvement in the community, they are not official representatives of entities they are involved with.