Wikimania 2009/Bids/Brisbane/Q&A

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This page is for questions and answers from the Jury and the public to the Brisbane bidding team, to follow the presentation meeting February 3.

Glossary of Terms[edit]

  • BCEC: Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre. The proposed venue for the conference.
  • SEQ or SE Queensland: South East Queensland (a region of Queensland comprising of Brisbane, as well as the cities of Gold Coast, Ipswich, Redcliffe, and Caloundra)
  • UQ: University of Queensland

Sample [Sample Question][edit]

Why do you like beans? --Markie
Response: Because they're nutritious. --Markie 23:15, 7 February 2008 (UTC)

Chapter support?[edit]

Is this bid officially supported by a local chapter (or future chapter)? Angela 03:46, 3 February 2008 (UTC)
Response:Wikimedia Australia is a future chapter that is in the final stages of establishment. There is no official support, as the chapter has not been established yet. Official support is largely dependent on how soon and how well the chapter will run this year. - Zero1328 en:Talk? 12:11, 3 February 2008 (UTC)
Is the future chapter at least supportive to the current organization and team? Effeietsanders 12:15, 27 February 2008 (UTC)
I can't really give a concrete answer to this, as the chapter doesn't exist yet and it's impossible to define which direction the chapter may or may not go down in the future. Of those likely to be members of the chapter, support has been widespread and enthusiastic, if not unanimous. I see no reason why we would not get official support from the chapter once it is established. Craig Franklin 12:32, 27 February 2008 (UTC).
Someone's been altering my responses.. I had also said that "Some prospective members have said that they will assist in the bid, but there has been some concern on the chapter's ability to support it, as the chapter will be new." If you mean official support from a financial side, that's what I was referring to, when I said it's dependant on how well the chapter runs. There's still a great amount of time until August 2009, so it wouldn't be a cause for worry just yet. - Zero1328 en:Talk? 12:11, 28 February 2008 (UTC)
Ah, good to make the difference between the financial and "other resources"-support (such as manpower, networking, contacts etc) Effeietsanders 12:15, 28 February 2008 (UTC)

Number of people involved?[edit]

How many people are actively working on this bid? Has there ever been a meetup of Wikimedians in this city? If so, what is the average number of attendees? Angela 03:46, 3 February 2008 (UTC)
Responses:
  • en:User:Lankiveil has been most active in dealing with public relations both within Wikimedia and with external sponsors and the venue. There have been others working on the bid, in varying the capacities.
  • The first meetup in Brisbane has been held recently, on February 10. The meetup page contains more detail.
- Zero1328 en:Talk? 12:37, 12 February 2008 (UTC)
  • Note, I did not personally attend this meetup, as a last-minute personal issue cropped up. However, I would normally be available on-site to participate. In addition, the BCEC and other groups have pledged behind-the-scenes support to be used on our behalf. Lankiveil 13:04, 12 February 2008 (UTC).
Please see the following list of people pledged right now: User:Lankiveil/Wikimania/List. I expect that we will get additional volunteers and helpers should we be successful. Craig Franklin 05:14, 27 February 2008 (UTC).
Please inquire about the extent of the support offered by BCEC and available among the local Wikipedians. How many people have the interest to commit to involvement now, and what is their current level of community activity? A list of usernames and areas of interest / desired spheres of work would suffice. +sj | help with translation |+ 22:35, 13 February 2008 (UTC)
Although en:Category:Wikipedians in Queensland is cited on the bid page as a "possible list", we have not made a large survey inquiring about possible support towards Wikimania. From what we've seen though, it appears to be fairly positive. - Zero1328 en:Talk? 11:20, 14 February 2008 (UTC)
As part of the services offered by the venue, we will be working with an experienced event planning manager who will help us tie together the logistics of Wikimedia and ensure that the conference runs smoothly and is successful. None of the Wikimedians involved in this bid (to my knowledge!) are professional conference managers, so having the professional team offered by BCEC on our side would be a massive advantage. MichelleG 11:38, 20 February 2008 (UTC).
A number of Wikimedians have been involved with this bid at one point or another. In particular, User:MichelleG has been helpful in providing "behind the scenes" support services as far as dealing with BCEC, User:Giggy and User:Zero1328, despite their modesty, have also been invaluable so far in proof-reading, double-checking, and generally keeping me honest. There has been quite a lot of interest shown on the Wikimedia-au mailist list, so there is every reason to believe that we would be well served by volunteers if our bid is successful.
As far as support for the BCEC goes, I will quote from what a staff member there has told me:
"BCEC is more than a venue - they are responsible for attracting international events to Brisbane with a particular focus on certain priorities sectors - Wikimedia falls into these priorites. Essentially this means that the city recognises the value of Wikimedia and would like to help firstly attract the event but also to ensure that it is well supported and a success when it is in Brisbane."
To be short, BCEC and their staff have been incredibly helpful in securing us high-level contacts and funding for the event. They are very enthusiastic about the event (to the point where I'm even beginning to convince them of the merits of freeing up their media. This high-level corporate support supplementing our volunteer efforts is one of the main strengths of our bid, in my opinion. Craig Franklin 13:09, 21 February 2008 (UTC).

Expenses and budget[edit]

Rough outline of budget[edit]

I know it's way too early to make fair estimations etc, but could you give a rough outline of the expected budget? What order of magnitude do things cost, what do you expect for the exchange rates to happen, how much money do you expect to collect from local sponsors etc. Would you expect to be able to cover all local expenses with local income? Effeietsanders 21:37, 13 February 2008 (UTC)
I will give a more complete budget in the next couple of days, but in general the exchange rate vs. the US dollar tends to oscillate between 0.80USD and 0.90USD to 1AUD. I don't anticipate any major changes to the exchange rate between now and mid-2009.
As far as the money collectable from sponsors, we have already secured sponsorships valued at 25,000AUD. It is difficult to put an exact dollar value on how much we expect to receive, as many of our sponsorships consist of discounts on goods and services for conference attendees, rather than discrete cash donations. However, we are confident of being able to meet most or all of our local expenses with sponsorship funds. Craig Franklin 06:12, 16 February 2008 (UTC).
Hi Craig, could you give an update on the status of this budget that you announced? Please point me to it if I missed it :) Effeietsanders 12:17, 27 February 2008 (UTC)
Here is a simple list of proposed expenditures at this point. Note that there are a number of options presented in the venue hire document that I emailed to the jury mailing list - I have selected the full option which is the one that we are recommending, however cheaper plans are outlined in the document should the Foundation prefer those.
All values are in AUD.
Expenses:
  • Venue Hire: ~$15000
  • Catering: ~$55000 (2 full meals and refreshments for 500)
  • Location hire for parties: ~$5000*
  • Promotions: $0 (covered by dedicated sponsor Brisbane Marketing)
  • Technical Facilities: $0 (provided by BCEC)
  • Miscellaneous Venue Costs (cleaning, security, etc): ~$5000
  • General Conference Materials (maps, programmes, etc): $5000
  • Scholarships and Travel Assistance: ~$20000 **
  • Total: $105,000
* We propose combining one of the meals in the catering package with external venue hire (South Bank beach) for the general party.
** Plus whatever grants can be secured from Australian government for this. See scholarships section below.
We are very optimistic that the shortfall of $75,000 can be entirely covered through sponsor funds and registration fees. Planning for things such as scholarships is limited at this time, as the amount we would offer would be dependent upon the amount of funds we could raise. We have kept costs low by allowing attendees to arrange their own accomodation and travel, but we will attempt to secure group booking discounts for hotels and the like to keep costs as low as possible for guests. Craig Franklin 12:54, 27 February 2008 (UTC).
Hi, thanks for your data. Could you also make a rough estimate on the sponsored expenses? (ie, the technical facilities and promotions), to be able to make a fair comparison with other bids, but also to be able to estimate how much of a percentage has been filled up already with sponsorships? Thanks! The 20k for the Scholarships, is that only for the keynotes and invited speakers, or do they have a seperate spot in the budget? How many people do you, by average, expect to be able to assist with these scholarships? The grant from the AUS government you mentioned elsewhere, was only covering third world countries, iirc. Are you planning on extra budget as well to bring in people from other places (say, Europe, America's)? Effeietsanders 22:53, 27 February 2008 (UTC)
There are three points here, which I will address separately:
  • Promotions: The following document contains details of what is offered to us by Brisbane Marketing: (pdf link). Further promotional activity may be possible in Brisbane's universities depending on what support we receive from them.
  • Technical: BCEC has a page on the services they offer here. In short, they not only offer the technical equipment, but also technical staff that are experienced and skilled in using it, thus vastly reducing the chances of any technical hiccups caused by volunteer inexperience with the technical equipment provided.
  • Scholarships: People from North America or Europe will certainly be eligible for scholarships. A willingness to act as a speaker or volunteer would certainly be an advantage on that front. However, we would focus the majority of our scholarship efforts on countries nearby; a rough calculation shows that we would be able to offer ten scholarships to people from Melbourne or Perth for the cost of one scholarship to someone from London or New York. With that said, after meeting all other major expenses, we would definitely look at using any funds remaining to offer further scholarships above and beyond the budget listed above.
Note also that I mistakently left off "Miscellaneous Venue Costs" from the original budget that I gave. This is to cover miscellaneous costs at the venue, such as the items listed on Page 6 of the price quote. Craig Franklin 11:05, 28 February 2008 (UTC).

Cost of attendance[edit]

Separate from an explicit budget: how much do you expect a typical community member to spend on attending Wikimania? Feel free to separate travel (which varies by origin), food and lodging (a range), and conference attendance itself (a smaller range; recognizing that this is still a rough estimate). +sj | help with translation |+ 22:35, 13 February 2008 (UTC)

Travel in terms of flights to Brisbane is covered on the main bid page, so I will not go into too much detail here. However, I will note that in the past few days, the Australia-US flight route has been opened to more competition. This means that travellers coming from or through the US to get to Australia can expect to see prices significantly lower than what they are now, by the time the conference rolls around.
A wide range of food and lodging is available within Brisbane. For attendees on a budget, accomodation such as that provided by the Palace Hostel, at AUD $44/night (USD 40.50, EUR 27.5) is available. This hostel in particular is centrally located and is either a short walk (approx 1km) or two CityTrain stops away. At the other end of the scale, the Rydges Brisbane in Brisbane is a 4½ hotel just across the road from our venue. Prices for next year are not yet available, but current overnight rates are around AUD $200/night (184 USD, 125 EUR).
Brisbane is a very compact and walkable city, so transport should not be a significant expense for guests. For those who want to utilise public transport, a weekly zone-one TransLink pass is available for AUD18.40 - this pass covers buses, trains, ferries and CityCats for the Brisbane CBD, the BCEC, the cultural area (including the Queensland Museum, State Library, Gallery of Modern Art, and South Bank Parklands), and surrouding inner-city locations. There is also a free loop bus in Brisbane City covering the main attractions and providing free transport to a number of accommodation providers.
As far as food is concerned, our quote with the venue covers catering for morning tea, lunch, and afternoon tea. It would be considered perfectly reasonable to pay AUD $10 for a quality breakfast and AUD $15 for a good quality evening meal. The BCEC itself is set in parklands that have a large number of free barbeques for public use, for those eager to try their hands at "traditional" Australian fare in a great setting.
Should we win the bid, we will consult with the Foundation to determine an appropriate registration fee for conference attendance. However, we are extremely confident of being able to keep the registration fee below AUD $50 (46 USD, 32 EUR). It should be noted as above that this registration fee would include, apart from the conference itself, meals and other refreshments.
I hope this covers all the bases, please feel free to ask further if there's anything you want further clarification on. Craig Franklin 12:56, 21 February 2008 (UTC)
On super-budget level accomodation, I should note that there are 9 hostels in the central Brisbane area. Most prices from all hostels are similar, give or take a few. The closest hostel to BCEC is the Brisbane Backpacker's resort. I am not sure if some hostels limit this only to real backpackers right now (Palace Hostel indicates yes), but it seems having 3/4+ people in a single room may reduce the price. For the Brisbane Packpacker's resort, it is 73 AUD for a twin room, and $24 for an 8 bed dorm. - Zero1328 en:Talk? 12:03, 25 February 2008 (UTC)

Travel scholarships[edit]

In the past, Wikimania has offered a number of travel scholarships to community members from around the world. Have you thought about how this would ideally work for a Brisbane Wikimania? Have you made efforts to identify sources for similar scholarships for this event, particularly from local and national organizations? +sj | help with translation |+ 22:35, 13 February 2008 (UTC)
This is an area that we have discussed, and we are very supportive of the idea of travel scholarships, particularly to assist attendees from developing countries in close proximity to Australia (such as East Timor and Papua New Guinea). Should Wikimania be secured for Brisbane, the Australian Government is very supportive of attracting delegates to conferences here and there are a number of funds that we can apply for. Amongst these schemes are AUSAID ( http://www.ausaid.gov.au/ ) from which we can apply for up to $50,000 to support delegates from developing nations. Craig Franklin 10:47, 21 February 2008 (UTC).
Could you give an outline on what time schedule would be required for applying? Ie., when is the deadline etc? Effeietsanders 12:18, 27 February 2008 (UTC)
It is likely that there would be multiple rounds of scholarships offered. The first round would be opened as soon as possible, likely once we have secured enough funding to cover the cost of venue hire and catering. Offering multiple rounds would allow us to cater for those that register early, as well as helping us cope with those "last minute" applications, such as what happened with Taipei. Craig Franklin 13:03, 27 February 2008 (UTC).
Sorry, I was not clear here I see now. I meant the time schedule for applying for the funds of the government. How bureaucratic is the Australian government, how much time in advance do these funds have to be requested? Effeietsanders 22:55, 27 February 2008 (UTC)
Ahh, I apologise for misunderstanding. We will apply for the funds as soon as is practical to do so, if this bid is successful. The Australian government I feel is no more or less bureaucratic than the government of any democracy; I anticipate it would probably take weeks rather than months to get a yes or no decision from the relevant bodies. Craig Franklin 10:43, 28 February 2008 (UTC).

Local vs international visitors[edit]

What visitors ratio do you aim for and/or do you expect with regard to whether they are coming from "local" (please answer for various definitions of local if appropriate, ie your province, country, continent) vs "interlocal" visitors? Do you plan to focus in your program (partially) on the local visitors, for instance with language, speakers, subjects? Effeietsanders 21:40, 13 February 2008 (UTC)
We are unsure (obviously) on an exact ration, but we do expect that a significant number of attendees will be Australian. There has been a good deal of interest expressed, for instance, by Wikimedia Australia participants, should the bid be successful. Visitors from the South-East Asia region would also be expected, as travel around the area is relatively cheap and simple.
As Brisbane is a highly multicultural city, it is likely that we would be able to accommodate attendees from around the world without significant additional costs or difficulties, and we intend to do so.
Hopefully this answers your question; please feel free to ask further or make any additional comments. Regards, Giggy\Talk 08:34, 14 February 2008 (UTC)
Hi, thanks for your answer. Could you please try to specify a bit further? Are you thinking in the range of 10% australians, 30, 50, 70 or maybe 90%? Could you also estimate whether the majority of the Austrialians will come from the Brisbane area, or maybe from the other side of Australia? Effeietsanders 08:45, 14 February 2008 (UTC)
You're welcome. Again, this is only estimate, but at face value I would say somewhere in the realms of 30%-50% Australian, maybe 50%-66% of those from Brisbane. That's how I see it happening. Giggy\Talk 07:55, 15 February 2008 (UTC)
The "rough figure" that we have been using would be for 50% attendees coming from Australia, and 50% of those being local to the Brisbane and surrounds (SE Queensland) area. Our "delegate boosting" grants and support from UQ means that we hope to attract a significant number of locals who might not be active Wikimedians at this point. MichelleG 11:41, 20 February 2008 (UTC).

Timeline[edit]

What elements of the preparation and setup do you already know have a timeline component, and what is this timeline? What are the first things that will have to be settled? How far out will you need room counts, deposits for any reservation or rooms, &c? What other major events do you expect to be taking place around the same time as Wikimania? +sj | help with translation |+ 22:35, 13 February 2008 (UTC)
  • Hello Sj. 2009 will be the year of Queensland's 150th anniversary celebration (see Q150 page). We are hopeful of securing a sponsorship for the event in connection with this! As far as we are aware, there are no particularly large events happening on the weekend we have proposed that will clash with the conference or provide any other challenges. MichelleG 03:18, 16 February 2008 (UTC).
To supplement Michelle's answer above, we already have a loose project plan with timelines in place should our bid be successful. Our first priorities should the bid be successful are the formalising of a conference committee ( already loosely in place ), the confirmation of dates, further approaches to potential sponsors in order to be able to firm up a budget and meeting with Brisbane Marketing to formalise a marketing strategy for the Conference. We are already holding a selection of dates at the venue and would be looking to select dates that maximise the potential for overseas delegates so most likely July or August 2009 during European academic holidays.
There are no major events taking place over the proposed dates. 2009 is the 150th Year of Celebrations and a calender of events is being planned for the year. It is planned that the attendees for these events will be principally local so there shouldnt be any great strain on hotel availability. Should the Brisbane bid be successful we will apply for a grant from Q150 ( up to $10,000 ) for support for the conference and see if there are any other ways in which they could support Wikimania. Craig Franklin 13:13, 21 February 2008 (UTC).

Visas[edit]

For those countries that do require a visa for traveling to Australia, what can you tell us about the process? How expensive is this, how long does it take, how does one go about getting the visa? To what extent does this vary by country of origin? --Michael Snow 17:05, 1 March 2008 (UTC)

You have noticed that the Timeline indicates Q&A is over, right? Also, the deadlines were extended.
Anyway, I believe the bid page sums up the important details of this, with many other details on the official website. Eligible countries for obtaining an ETA (Electronic Travel Authority) is here. You can apply over the internet, and it is apparently fairly quick. - Zero1328 en:Talk? 10:26, 2 March 2008 (UTC)
I am a little perturbed by the lateness of the question, but I will point you towards the "Visas" section of our bid. Approval for ETAs, which can be applied for over the Internet, is near-instant, as I understand it. According to this Australian government site, "The application is processed immediately." There is a service charge of $20AUD to apply, and you must hold a passport issued by one of the countries listed in the "Eligibility" page of the IMMI website.
If an ETA is not able to be issued, a standard visa may be required. A list of available types is here. It is our understanding that a Tourist Visa (subclass 676) will be sufficient to attend the conference. This can be applied for at an Australian embassy or consulate, through some travel agents, through the Department of Immigration's website, or through postal mail.
Note that as mentioned on the bid page, the Australian government runs a programme called "International Event Coordinator Network" (IECN). This program aims to streamline the visa application process for conference delegates and the like, and we will seek their assistance if successful with our bid, to make the visa application process as painless as possible for Wikimedians.
Please ask if you require any further clarification. Craig Franklin 11:31, 3 March 2008 (UTC).