Wikimania 2008/Bids/Atlanta/Q&A

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This page is for questions and answers from the Jury to the Atlanta 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)

Re: Budget[edit]

Many of our bid team members dealt with things separately, but I was the only one who really dealt with all prices. I will have to answer this question when I get home to Tampa, which will be in at least eight hours from now. Mike Halterman 16:21, 23 September 2007 (UTC)
As far as housing (suite and apartment-style dorms) and food goes, our most liberal estimate with money puts that at $175,000. We figure it will be much lower because not all 500 rooms will be used every day of that week (especially with hacking days, which has a lower turnout than the main event). The rough $175,000 figure takes into account 500 occupied rooms from the night of Monday, July 28, to the morning of Monday, August 4. This includes lunch for the 500 people in the rooms on July 28, breakfast and lunch from July 29 to August 3, and breakfast on August 4. I can't stress enough that the quote is assuming all 500 people stay the entire full week, which will probably not occur. From there I foresee a savings of maybe as much as $35,000, if not more than that.
  • If I might interject here (even though it's already been stated elsewhere), this works out to $40-50 per night per person to stay in the dorms. This is all-inclusive for two meals, linens, and more than likely internet access in the rooms. LaMenta3 14:34, 24 September 2007 (UTC)
Right now our price quote for all the parties are around $12,000. $9,000 for the major party at the Carter Center, and $3,000 for the VIP party. We personally lucked out with the VIP party, as it was inexpensive to hold yet is still very sumptuous for those very important delegates from WMF, speakers, and businesspeople.
At last count, I believe we are using two rooms for July 29 and 30 and nine rooms from July 31 to August 2. At $600 per room per day, that puts us at $2,400 for the pre-event coverage (which may be lower as Turner Broadcasting may provide space at their headquarters for a journalism panel), and for the main event, will be $16,200. Cost for actual venue, total, would then be $18,600. This price quote is assuming we do not have student sponsorship. We are currently in talks with student organizations to get us discounts (which I believe is 50%).
Under miscellaneous, such as award prizes, T-shirts for volunteers, promotional campaigns, and material needed for the conference, we are putting that as a liberal $15,000. We figure that may very well run under-budget, as at this advanced stage more thought was given to the more pressing, concrete issues like venue costs, lodging and parties.
Adding up these numbers, our rough budget (and this is the largest number we foresee, so be warned it can be a lot smaller at the end of it all) ends up being $220,600.
As far as sponsors go, we have made a lot of headway with many different sponsors. For sure, we have varying degrees of support from Georgia Tech, the UNC School of Information and Library Science, and pjnet.org. The ones that sound most promising, from what we've contacted, are the American partners of Chunghwa Telecom, Turner Broadcasting, and Virgin Unite USA. Virgin Unite USA will not be able to give a monetary amount but would like to collaborate with us in other possible ways. A lot of interest was generated between our bid and the first two sponsor contacts. Chunghwa Telecom, very pleased with the result of Wikimania Taipei, was more than eager to sponsor an Atlanta bid, and forwarded the proposal to the American arms of that business. At this point we have not heard a final word from them, but I am convinced we will soon, probably more quickly if we do actually win the bidding. Turner Broadcasting has been very helpful in offering a lot of support immediately in terms of organizing discounted or free tours of the CNN Center for our attendees (final words have not been arranged yet), as well as a possible venue for our Citizen Journalism Unconference, cutting costs on our end. Our contact at Turner is not an authority to speak for the entire company to tell us if they can give us money, but considering the support we've already received, we give a more compelling case once the bid is won.
A lot of other businesses are interested and wish to continue negotiating with us once we win. Cox Communications is very enthusiastic as far as press coverage goes (their flagship newspaper and television station are based in Atlanta), and we've been in contact with their business wing; I believe that a sponsorship from them is all but certain if we present to them that we have won. How much, I am not certain.
This was a big concern with a lot of Atlanta-based local and national businesses. Enthusiasm is very high, but seeing as they are businesses and they want to protect their monetary interests, dollar amounts were avoided in discussions because they simply do not want to publicly invest in something that is not a sure thing. However, from all the meetings I've been to and people I've talked to, I have high confidence that these businesses would readily donate if the final decision from the jury is in our favor. Very few businesses have said no to us completely (for reference, out of the over 40 businesses we have contacted, only two have: Scientific Atlanta and Delta Air Lines). Everyone else will welcome us wholeheartedly, if we can give to them the positive decision from the jury. I think that's just something to be expected from how businesses are run in America, and really, in most of the Western world. Mike Halterman 08:00, 24 September 2007 (UTC)
Hi, thanks a lot for the data. This was fast! Could you maybe try to put it in a table? (possibly in a OpenOffice document exported to pdf, to make life for you guys easier) That way it is more insightfull for peopel with not-too-good math skills, and you can also edit it better. Please take your time for it if you need it :) Thanks! Effeietsanders 19:34, 24 September 2007 (UTC)
In putting together the tables I discovered that we made some ridiculous overestimates in the lodging budget and had left out our estimates for scholarships entirely in the figures that Mike provided above. Our new estimate for accommodations is $114,975. Our estimate for scholarships (50 scholarships at approx. $1,800 each) is $90,000. Our revised total for the entire conference, not counting discounts, sponsorships or recoupable costs is $235,575. This includes pretty much everything immediately related to holding the conference. Reductions in this number are still possible depending on sponsorships and partnerships that are currently in the works.
Without further ado, here is a PDF of some tables that break down our budget and show the quotes we've received and the estimates and calculations we used to reach our total. Let me know if you have any more questions! LaMenta3 19:35, 26 September 2007 (UTC)
Thanks a lot for the clarification and tables. When looking to the venue, a question pops into mind: is the USD 600 per room an estimate, an average, or are you already sure of this price, and is the price the same for every room? (I could imagine that a Grand Hall costs more then a room for a BoF) For the rest it is more or less clear. Although I do suspect that the average air fare will cost more then 1200 USD (especially if the scholarships are mainly granted to african / asian people I assume) but some might cost less too, and partial shcolarships could compensate for this. Furthermore I was wondering if the venue prices do include on-site catering (coffee, tea, water, cookies, fruit, stuff like that) or that at least it is permitted to arrange this yourself. (with sponsorships) Thanks! Effeietsanders 13:40, 27 September 2007 (UTC)
As far as the scholarships go, the amounts that I used were mostly estimates...I figured that some airfares would be more than $1200, but others would be less, and not everyone is going to need a visa, either. We just needed a target amount so that we kind of know what we need to shift from sponsorships. $90,000 is probably about reasonable to provide 40-50 scholarships, depending on how many full and how many partial we need to provide. (if we provide a lot of partial scholarships we might even be able to squeeze 55 or 60 out of it.) These numbers are the only ones I've dealt with personally, so the questions about the venue and the catering I'm going to leave to Mike. I've let him know that you've got questions, so he should get back to you here soon. I'm mostly just doing the math and spreadsheets based on the numbers that I'm given. :) LaMenta3 16:57, 27 September 2007 (UTC)
Yes, the $600 per room is an actual number and not an estimate, and we already worked in two meals per day with lodging; people who don't stay in dorms can easily pay out of pocket and eat in the dining hall for the same price as well (about $8 per meal). Georgia Tech's catering costs a lot and it doesn't really make sense to have it when you have the dining hall at your disposal twice a day. Mike Halterman 19:21, 27 September 2007 (UTC)
Additionally, there are a variety of dining options in the student center (our main venue) that are reasonably priced (they're targeting a college demographic with little disposable income, so most meals don't exceed $6 or $7). Depending on the costs of other sundries that we've provided for in our budget (miscellaneous on our tables), there may be money available for some catering, though again, given our provision for meals in the cost of lodging, we don't feel that it is a strong priority. Based upon my experience at other conventions (not Wikimania) water is typically provided in or near all panel rooms. This can probably be taken care of easily and at little or no cost. If, in the course of this Q&A session it appears that most people believe additional arrangements for food are necessary, we can look into re-factoring our budget to accommodate that. [Insert witty comment about building our budget on consensus here.] LaMenta3 20:42, 27 September 2007 (UTC)

Fingerprints?[edit]

Francis Tyers asks: Are there any countries other than the US whose citizens will not be required to give their fingerprints at the border? Or will all non-US citizens be required to? I am asking this as I don't have time to look it up myself and think that people should know if all foreign delegates will be required to give their fingerprints. On a personal note, I would certainly not consider returning to the US until they abandon this policy, and I would guess that some other Wikipedians might feel the same way.

That bit was a bit bitchy. I would like to add that although that seems negative, I would like to say that when I stayed in Tennessee in '04, it was great. The South of the US is something special, and definitely an experience worth having. And if you go, try the sweet tea :D - FrancisTyers 13:43, 25 September 2007 (UTC)

Re: Fingerprints?[edit]

Mike Halterman responds: The details of the new plan are very sketchy indeed, and different websites contradicted one another, but if what I'm reading is true, starting in 2008 (gradually phased in between February and December), all foreign visitors will need to provide ten fingerprints either before they leave their country or upon arrival. This includes the 27 Visa Waiver Program nations outlined in our bid. Current law asks for two fingerprints. From what I've read, the United Kingdom and other countries are also in plans to implement such a system either in the next year or in the year after. Our entire bid was unaware of this development until now, and the news on this story broke less than two weeks ago. I suppose the contradictory information may be due to the fact that it is a new implementation, and maybe things will change. But for now, that is what I glean from it.

Right now, all visitors require just two fingerprints, which can be taken upon arrival for Visa Waiver Program members and need to be taken beforehand at your local embassy if you are applying for a visa. These fingerprints are taken basically to confirm that you are who you say you are on your passport. Until something more definite with actual dates comes down the line, we are going to plan for this to continue. As always, we will keep members abreast of new security changes.

Visas[edit]

I'm a bit late into the game, but this is more of a concern than a question. USA has rather strict visa regulations towards non-NATO member countries' citizens and especially towards Arab countries. What has been prior experience in getting visas for such events, especially for people who are not students or don't own significant amount of real estate in their country? User:Dcabrilo User talk:Dcabrilo

I second Dcabrilo with his concern: as we know about security problems that face travelers from Middle Eastern and Arab destinations at American airports, not to mention problems with issuing visas, specially for senior students. How are you going to deal with this problem facing attendees from more than 25 countries, and they are in need to participate in the conference for better involvement in Wiki events; so as to increase the wiki-culture in their own countries? Do you have any guarantees that these participants are not subjected to a special kind of problems at airports? Will they be considered as a threat to the 'national security'?-Moushira 23:41, 25 September 2007 (UTC)

Re: Visas[edit]

Hillary Lipko responds: After reading though a lot of the visa requirements and exceptions and prohibitions and legal documentation on the U.S. Department of State website and other related sites, it seems to me that most, if not all, of the people traveling to the U.S. for Wikimania should have no problem getting approval for non-immigrant travel visas. There are some special requirements for all visa applicants and additional forms that must be filled out bycertain individuals based upon demographics or country of origin. In general, all male visa applicants between the ages of 16 and 45 must fill out an additional form (designated DS-157) as well as ALL individuals over the age of 16 from countries that are designated by the U.S. government to be state sponsors of terrorism (North Korea, Cuba, Syria, Sudan and Iran). It is important to note that simply being from one of the five countries considered to be a state sponsor of terrorism DOES NOT immediately disqualify an individual from being approved for a visitor visa.

There is nothing in what I have read that suggests to me that it would be more difficult for non-students or those who rent their home or own only a small amount of property in their home country to obtain a visa. The general rule about visas in the U.S. is that every visitor visa applicant is an intending immigrant. Therefore, applicants for visitor visas must overcome this presumption by demonstrating that:

  • The purpose of their trip is to enter the U.S. for business, pleasure, or medical treatment (In this case the purpose is the conference, which is pleasure and/or business)
  • That they plan to remain for a specific, limited period (The duration of the conference +/- a couple of days)
  • Evidence of funds to cover expenses in the United States (Either personal funds, evidence that a family member or acquaintance at your destination will support you during your stay or evidence of a Wikimania scholarship should be sufficient)
  • Evidence of compelling social and economic ties abroad
  • That they have a residence outside the U.S. as well as other binding ties which will insure their return abroad at the end of the visit (Having a job, being enrolled in school, having family and/or friends living there, owning or renting a residence, and anything else that shows that you're likely to return at the end of your stay in the U.S. should be sufficient for this and the above item)

An interview is required of all visa applicants age 14-79 in addition to the submission of the applicable application form(s). The State Department does not usually require interviews of those under 14 or over 79. Applicants for visitor visas need the following documentation:

  • Nonimmigrant Visa Application, Form DS-156 (This is the standard visitor visa application form.)
  • Supplemental Nonimmigrant Visa Application, Form DS-157 for all males age 16-45 and ALL applicants from North Korea, Cuba, Syria, Sudan and Iran.
  • A passport valid for travel to the United States and that is valid for at least 6 months beyond the date you plan on leaving the U.S.
  • One (1) 2x2 photograph that conforms to the standards for nonimmigrant visas (usually these standards are about the same as for passports).

There are certain criteria that could disqualify an applicant for a visa, and I was personally surprised to learn that most of these restrictions are quite reasonable. I doubt that very few, if any, of our visitors would come up against any problems based upon the list of disqualifications. The list is quite exhaustive, so I cannot list all of the items here, but a few items include:

  • Having a communicable disease of public health significance
  • Having been convicted of a crime "involving moral turpitude" (with the exception of purely political offenses) or a violation of U.S. or foreign controlled substances acts. Exceptions to this apply:
  • if the offenses were committed before age 18 and it has been at least 5 years since the applicant was released from any related confinement
  • the maximum penalty possible for the crime of which the applicant was convicted did not exceed imprisonment for one year and, the applicant was not sentenced to a term of imprisonment in excess of 6 months
  • Having participated in or publicly endorsed terrorist activities

A full list of visa ineligibilities and exceptions can be found here. Again, it is unlikely that many, if any, of our visitors could fall into one of the categories outlined, but ineligibility can be waived and visa denials for any reason can be appealed. For this reason, we recommend that anyone who thinks that they may run up against some problems in the visa application process apply as early as possible if they certainly plan on attending. Information on visa denial appeals can be found here.

Even more information about the nonimmigrant visa application process, as well as various requirements, fees and things to expect throughout the process can be found at this site.

Wait times for visa interviews and for application processing can be found here. The wait times vary from place to place, but most applications for nonimmigrant visas are resolved in 30 days or less, and few, if any, should take longer than 90 days. We are not aware of any problems that occurred with obtaining visas or gaining admittance to the U.S. for foreign attendees of Wikimania in Boston, though we have looked into ways to mitigate any problems that those wishing to attend may have with obtaining a visa, should it be needed.

Response: Are there any examples to go with the "Having [...] publicly endorsed terrorist activities"? I ask because I guess a lot of people have endorsed what someone has described as a terrorist activity. Are we talking just from the viewpoint of the US and its allies? I suppose bringing a copy of Glorifying Terrorism would be a bad idea, but would supporting the assassination of en:Melitón Manzanas be considered "publically endorsing terrorist activities"? Just looking for a bit of guidance on this. - FrancisTyers 13:07, 26 September 2007 (UTC)
It's sort of involved to completely hash out here, though the page with all of the ineligibilities for visas lays it out in some detail. In short, I gather that it only includes what the U.S. and its allies would consider terrorism under law (not someone's totally subjective opinion...usually). Public endorsement usually involves being a member of a considered terrorist organization or publicly speaking and pushing a viewpoint related to what the U.S. considers terrorism. At least that's how I understand it. LaMenta3 13:39, 26 September 2007 (UTC)
Response: Thanks for the reply, that answers my question. As I haven't been a member of an organisation considered to be terrorist, and haven't publically spoken (although maybe have spoken publically — strange how the order of words can effect the meaning!), I would probably be ok. - FrancisTyers 14:08, 26 September 2007 (UTC)
I agree, English is funny like that...Glad I could clear that up for you. :) LaMenta3 14:39, 26 September 2007 (UTC)
Hillary, thanks for the thorough research, I'm sure it will come handy to people! A bit more practical question from me though (I have lived for several years in the USA and spent a lot of time in embassies getting visas and such): it is in the interviewer discretion to refuse somebody an entry, and they often do it to people who have no "strong ties" to their country. So, from personal experience (obviously, this is more of a question for people who have before been to the USA than the hosts themselves): has it been a problem to attend events such as Wikimania if one is not a full time student, or does not have property, or is not full-time employed, etc? --Dcabrilo 13:23, 26 September 2007 (UTC)
I believe that the interview is considered in conjunction with the rest of your application for entry, so the interviewer probably can't unilaterally deny your application on the spot for what he or she perceives to be a "lack of ties." That said, if you're afraid that lack of ties to your home country might be a hurdle to your getting a visa, try to apply as early as you possibly can, and provide to your interviewer as much proof as you possibly can that you DEFINITELY have an interest in returning to your country after your trip. As far as I can tell anyone, there's no such thing as overkill here. I say apply as early as possible so if your application is denied, you still have time to appeal. I did provide a link to information about visa denial appeals in my original response, and I would assume if anyone were to come up against a problem, they'd be provided with information as well.
I can't personally speak to issues that part-time students/workers or non-property owners might have getting a visa, but from what I read, I get the impression that these are not usually a problem. If you live with your family, but you don't personally own the property, that's still a significant tie. If you rent/lease your residence, this is specifically considered an economic tie as well. Pretty much if you can prove you have a home that is worth returning to, they consider that a significant tie. I think that is their biggest concern, followed by the consideration of your economic status -- can you economically support yourself (or are you economically supported by family) in your home country, will you be able to support yourself during your stay in the U.S., things like that. Having family members in your country of origin is also very much to your benefit, as they make a lot of decisions based upon the assumption that families want to stay together. LaMenta3 17:38, 26 September 2007 (UTC)

It is very serious, I think, the Atlanta team doesn't aware the Boston visa problem. We failed to have one of our speaker who was also a Chapcom member come to the USA due to visa issue. If you don't learn the past failures and incidents, why can we expect it improved? --Aphaia 13:18, 26 September 2007 (UTC)

I apologise, my wording wasn't quite correct in that regard. I meant to say that I, personally, was not aware of issues. I can't really speak for all of the other bid members, as I don't know everything they know (though it would be nice if I did!). I had just been told previously that the mitigating procedures that Boston had in place to get visas approved for visitors didn't need to be used, so I inferred from that, that there were no problems. If you know the circumstances of the visa issue that this one speaker had, I might be able to speak to that particular problem and how it could have been avoided or mitigated. In general, I would recommend that people planning to attend apply for visas as early as possible (I can't repeat myself enough on that point) so that if there are any problems, there is still plenty of time to take care of them. We have looked into some of the things that we can do to help with our attendees getting visas if they have problems, and if we are selected we will actively pursue contacts with Congress and the Department of State to put some mitigative procedures in place. LaMenta3 14:37, 26 September 2007 (UTC)

Accommodation[edit]

Delphine Ménard asks: Could you please be more precise as to what accommodation is exactly available? What kind of dorms? Are they air conditionned? How many beds per rooms? Doubles? Singles? Etc. This would do for an easier reading of the accommodation information. Thank you.

Re: Accommodation[edit]

Mike Halterman responds: I'm terribly sorry for not making it clear, I truly thought I had (writing a lot in a short period of time does have its drawbacks). :) For the record, the dorms would be split as we and the housing office see fit, for the same price quote. We could have half double occupancy in suites and half single occupancy in an apartment, four people to an apartment, or we could alter what we need based on how we see fit. Considering we're getting the same price quote for either apartments or suites, we may very well ask for the apartments, which will mean we would only need to ask for 125 apartments as opposed to 250 suites, freeing up rooms for other people who may be coming to Georgia Tech for other endeavors and being considerate to the housing office in the process. All dorms at Georgia Tech (and all public buildings in Atlanta) are air-conditioned; especially in the last 30 years or so, A/C has become standard in building units due to the climate during the summer. We also discuss the air conditioning and climate issue in our strengths and weaknesses portion of the bid. Hopefully that answers everything!

Hillary Lipko responds: In the case of apartments, a bathroom is shared between two people, so in a 4-person apartment, there are 2 bathrooms. There is also a kitchen with a stove, sink, microwave and refrigerator as well as a common living room in each apartment. Suite-style rooms typically have 2 people in a room, connected to another room by a small hallway, and 4 people share a bathroom. All bathrooms, whether suite or apartment have the sink outside and the toilet and bathtub/shower in a room with a door that locks, so that the sink is accessible if the shower or toilet is in use. Suite-style rooms share a kitchen with all of the other rooms on the floor, but there is not a refrigerator. As Mike already said, if 125 apartments are available for the conference, we will probably have all housing be set up in that format, as it is slightly more private for each guest and there are more amenities. There are ethernet jacks in each bedroom as well as a coaxial connection for cable TV (though I doubt anyone will be bringing a TV with them, if anyone has a NTSC TV tuner in their laptop that may be of interest). Presently, most of Georgia Tech's housing has wireless access as well, and it is quickly expanding to cover all housing. There is also a laundry room that should accessible to people staying in the apartments. The cost is $1.25 per washload and $0.25 per 10 minutes of dryer time, and payment is made using the on-campus debit system. Conference Services typically provides guests with the option of preloading an on-campus debit card with a certain amount of money for use in the laundry rooms, vending machines, and most campus restaurants and stores. With the exception of the laundry room, all of these places also take cash. This is particularly handy, in my opinion, particularly if you are uncomfortable carrying a lot of cash around the conference and don't want to deal with extra fees that may be charged to your credit card if you are not from the U.S. (This latter issue depends on your credit card company or your bank -- many Americans face this problem while traveling abroad, which is why I mention it.)

Meeting Q&A[edit]

Below is a parsed and organized version of Atlanta's portion of the Q&A from the September 23 meeting (log). All new questions should be posted above this section for both our convenience and yours so that we can address your questions and concerns more quickly.

Below each Q/A set will be a place for bid members to elaborate further on the answers given in the chat, which were brief and incomplete due to time constraints. The Atlanta bid team wishes to be as thorough and forthcoming with our answers to the community's questions and concerns as possible. If you feel that we have not completely answered your question, please let us know! LaMenta3 18:09, 23 September 2007 (UTC)

Question 1[edit]

brassratgirl asked: Why do you want to organize Wikimania?

Response 1[edit]

Mike Halterman responds: I was the one who first thought up this bid, and I really thought to myself, which city in the South is best equipped to showcase a marriage of both worlds, if you will? I don't know how many of you are from the South, but it is something I'm very proud of. I felt Atlanta had the most to offer and really is a thriving metropolis, one of the only true metropolises we have in the South. It's really a marriage of Southern charm and business minds, and historical relevance and social zeitgeist. Two eras merge into one cultural tapestry and I think that's why I wanted to organize it, especially for such a deserving locale. I thought of other locations: Tampa, Orlando, etc. But when it came down to it, they weren't as cosmopolitan. They didn't have "the entire package." Atlanta did, and I am 100% confident in that. I love this city, and I am so sure that if you let us [show you], you'll love it too.

britty asks for clarification: What is "both worlds"? I have no idea.

Mike Halterman responds: Both worlds in this sense would mean "the Old South" and "the New South." The Old South is steeped in tradition and history. The New South is cosmopolitan and energetic and more representative of a world stage. Which is why we titled the theme "A new day for the New South." To be able to show off the achievements of Atlanta and Georgia Tech, in such a historic setting and slower, more relaxed Southern background, is really the best of "the two worlds."

Expanded response 1[edit]

All bid members' and volunteers' elaborations upon the response given in the meeting may be placed in this section.

Question 2[edit]

theodoranian asks: What is the interest for the Wikimedia Foundation to host Wikimania in Atlanta ? In Wikimania Atlanta 2008 organization process, what role of the Foundation office do you expect it to play? How to share the responsibility between the team and the office?

Response 2[edit]

Mike Halterman responds: I've worked with the office on unrelated issues and know it intimately. I am very sure I can sell the high points of this bid and tell them, this is a very good showing because it is a springboard for Wikimedia's large North American community, as well as its setting in a locale that is highly innovative in Web 2.0, free culture, knowledge, all of WMF's aims. We are a very self-sufficient bid team. Be that as it may, I would love the WMF's input on certain things we can do to make our event better. I see it very much as a collaboration. We can take constructive criticism, and we can also stand our ground and show them "Hey, this is what we can do if you have confidence in us." I would love for it to be very "give and take" in terms of idea sharing. Until the end of January, I can personally work as an envoy between our bid and the office, considering I do work there already. I've been very careful to avoid conflict of interest issues with this bid and all of our work has been on the level at all times. I think it's very important to be able to meet with the ones you're working with, face to face, and for a certain amount of time, we're really the only bid that can feasibly [do that.]

Expanded response 2[edit]

All bid members' and volunteers' elaborations upon the response given in the meeting may be placed in this section.

Question 3[edit]

KJ-Wikia asks: hHow many people join the bidding team? Will they help to organize this conference?

Response 3[edit]

Matt Britt responds: I think the current count is 43, and many of them have expressed continuing interest in providing real assistance

Expanded response 3[edit]

All bid members' and volunteers' elaborations upon the response given in the meeting may be placed in this section.

Hillary Lipko responds: Our core bid team is made up of seven people -- four men and three women. Our regional team, which includes the core team and individuals who have committed to help in various capacities both with the organization and execution of the event should Atlanta be selected, is currently at 43 volunteers, as Matt stated. More information about these individuals can be found here. Additionally, our Facebook group has 112 members as of this writing (24 September). It is possible that many members of this group that are not also members of our regional team are merely throwing in their moral support, but I would wager that it is rather likely that members who are either students at Georgia Tech or who live in the Atlanta area may show interest in volunteering in some capacity if the need arises.

Update: We are now at 50 volunteers and 132 members in our Facebook group! LaMenta3 02:53, 28 September 2007 (UTC)

Question 4[edit]

Mbimmler asks: Could you elaborate on the accommodation available, i.e. where, what type of, estimated costs...?

Response 4[edit]

Hillary Lipko responds: We have talked with Conference Services about setting aside suite and apartment-style dorms for attendees who wish to use them. This is discussed in some detail on the bid. The cost per person would be $40-50 per night, and includes two meals. There are a number of hotels in the area as well, with a range of per-night pricing.

Expanded response 4[edit]

See our response above under Accomodation.

Question 5[edit]

britty asks: What do you plan to succeed from the past Wikimania as its virtues? And what will you not succeed intentionally and alter or replace? (answers can be mailed later: I'll forward it to other jurors)

Response 5[edit]

There was not enough time to address this in the meeting. This question will be addressed by a bid member as soon as possible in the expanded response section below. LaMenta3 18:09, 23 September 2007 (UTC)

Expanded response 5[edit]

Mike Halterman responds: I think the theme of Wikimania Taipei is very much the same kind of theme we portray. "Reaching far, going diverse" and "a globe in accord" is basically the same kind of sentiment we have for "A new day for the New South." We want to put our best foot forward to the international community and show off "the New South," which is more cosmopolitan, innovative and more in tune with the globe than what many people may think of the region.

An anonymous IP tried to call Atlanta "a bastion of the Old South in the New South," which I don't think is the case. We're the most liberal, progressive, forward-thinking city in the region, and that's something that we want the international community to see. The South has such a negative impression both nationally and internationally, thanks to entertainment shows like Hee Haw, where all Southerners are portrayed as unintelligent, socially backwards, and have a fondness for guns and fried chicken. Atlanta is now a city on the world stage, working in tandem with thriving metropolises and proving we are their equal. If given the opportunity, we can prove to America and the world that Atlanta is the new up-and-coming intellectual, business and technological center not only in our own country, but for the world, and that previous misconceptions given to Atlanta via Southern stereotypes are no longer valid.

In short, all of our bid team members appreciate Southern culture, and only I can speak for myself by saying I'm proud of my Southern heritage, but at the same time, to truly diversify and join the world community, some negative images are best left in the past if we are to succeed and have a bright future.

As far as structure goes, we are altering the format somewhat. We are officially putting pre-Wikimania and post-Wikimania events all under one banner in an attempt to unify everything. While the main event is July 31-August 2, hacking days, the journalism conference, and the end party are all included under the main banner. We are also doing a live event, on a smaller scale, from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, which is a departure from past years where the main venue was the only one that had an event take place. I will personally coordinate that myself and do the Atlanta bid simultaneously, so the Foundation and the rest of the bid members are not distracted from the main task at hand, which is to put on the main event in Atlanta. Considering how much administrative and student support we've received from UNC, I don't see organizing two events as a big problem for me. I am skilled at multi-tasking and striving for excellence; I have utmost confidence in my work and that I can plan both events with ease.

On a smaller note, we have changed the Wikimania logo colors to accurately reflect our country. As our flag is "red, white and blue," the "W" brush stroke is now red and the "M" brush stroke is now blue. We were always under the understanding that the logo and the colors were more de facto than de jure, so we figured creative license with the colors (swapping them to the different letters) wouldn't be too much of an aesthetic change, but something we did want to do to give our bid more of our distinct feel. Other graphics other than our banner that we've put out have not been updated yet but should be updated soon.

Question 6[edit]

effeietsanders asks: What ratio of number of "local visitors" vs "visitors of other continents" do you expect?

Response 6[edit]

Hillary Lipko responds: Our plans for the diversity of the conference have been a priority in our planning. We would hope and expect that we would have a large number of international attendees, though it might be wishful thinking for something like 50/50. We are aware of the difficulties for some to get into the US, and we have looked into ways of mitigating that if we are selected. We have also looked at ways of finding reduced fares into Atlanta for people flying from locales that are expensive. We want to make the experience as hassle-free as possible for our international visitors so as to encourage their attendance and to provide them with a positive impression about Atlanta and its people.

Expanded response 6[edit]

There is a fairly thorough treatment of the topic of visas further up on this page, though it is important to note that there are 27 countries that do not require visas to travel to the U.S., and from what I have been told by people who have attended past Wikimanias, a large majority of the attendees come from those 27 countries. (A table of these countries is on our main bid page.) Most everyone traveling to the U.S. from another country needs a passport, so if you don't have one, apply as early as possible, as some passport agencies get very backed up during certain times of the year. The same advice applies to anyone needing a visa, perhaps doubly so -- we strongly recommend that people who need one apply for their travel visas as early as they can in case there are any delays in getting an interview, getting the paperwork processed or, in the unlikely event that an application is denied, there is time to appeal.

On another related topic, we have tentatively budgeted $90,000 for scholarships for speakers and attendees who could not otherwise afford to attend. This amount will be divided up as needed for full and partial scholarships. Depending on the number of full versus partial scholarships that are needed, this amount should provide for anywhere between 40 and 60 people, including speakers, to attend at no cost or a significantly reduced cost.

These two items are probably the most relevant to the attendance of people from other continents. We have significantly considered various problems that could arise and other circumstances that might prevent someone who wants to attend from attending. We are prepared to make arrangements to help people overcome these problems and circumstances, including problems related to visa application approval. LaMenta3 18:02, 29 September 2007 (UTC)