Editor's note: Due to publication problems, the Wikimania report from last week arrived late. It is available here.
This week, the Signpost considers the substance of Wikimania.
Wikimania is the annual conference of the Wikimedia Foundation, and an international meetup for community members from all Wikimedia projects. It is a community gathering, a research conference, and a social event. Wikimania is a chance to meet other Wikimedia community members from around the world, and to interact with others outside the community — technologists, librarians, publishers, journalists, businessmen, activists, teachers — who care passionately about the issues surrounding wikis, collaborative projects, reference works and free knowledge.
The first Wikimania was held in August 2005, in Frankfurt, Germany. This year's Wikimania is happening from 4 August to 6 August on the Harvard Law School campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts. This week's article will focus on Wikimania 2006 and on ways to participate. In coming weeks we will focus on some of the great speakers and events planned for 2006.
The Wikimania program
Wikimania 2006 is three days long, and will have a very full program, with invited speakers, submitted presentations, and social events. The conference aspect of Wikimania has five broad themes:
- the projects and their content
- MediaWiki and technical infrastructure
- free knowledge and access to information
- law and policies
- social science of Wikipedia and online communities.
These themes are not exclusive, but represent the core topics that define the conference.
Part of what makes Wikimania great are the speakers from the Wikimedia communities, who have a chance to report on research, exciting WikiProjects and hacks, or teach others about their work and tools, to an enthusiastic and interested audience. All are welcome to submit proposals for a presentation, poster, discussion or workshop. The deadline for submitting presentation, panel, discussion and poster submissions is this weekend, 30 April. Details can be found in the official call for participation. Submissions are carefully reviewed, and feedback will be given.
Some guidelines for submissions:
- A presentation is a talk, often with slides or supporting materials, that one person or a small group of people gives; most presentations will be twenty minutes long with ten minutes of questions and answers. To submit a presentation, provide an abstract of your talk that describes your topic and demonstrates why it would be of interest to the audience.
- A panel session is a related group of speakers who address the same topic, often in response to audience questions; panel submissions need to describe the topic of the panel, possible panelists, and propose a moderator.
- A discussion session is a free-form format for participants to discuss, round-table style, a particular issue or set of issues; for these, submit an abstract with the discussion topic and possible questions participants will address, and propose a discussion leader.
- A poster is the most flexible format – any large display of information that will hang or be displayed during the entire conference, and can be about anything related to the conference themes.
- The conference is also accepting artistic submissions; these are limited only by your imagination.
For any submission, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions. If you would like to suggest a possible submission without submitting it yourself, or discuss your ideas with the program team and fellow presenters, please use the program ideas discussion page.
The conference will be held in Cambridge, Massachusetts, just north of Boston, and there is a wealth of things to do in both cities. Field trips during the conference are being planned, and suggestions are welcome for possible group outings in the area. We are currently looking for volunteers to lead excursions.
There are numerous travel options, and some Wikimedians are also planning carpools and other group travel. A page will be available on the 2006 conference wiki soon with more information about travel options. Some lodging will be available on-site, in the Harvard dormitories; those staying before or after the conference will need to find off-site lodging. Registration for the conference will also be open soon and will be announced on the conference site and mailing lists.
Volunteering and feedback
The Wikimania team also welcome interested volunteers. Open tasks this month include reviewing papers, planning remote participation, and designing the website. While some tasks will require being on-site or familiar with the local area, many jobs – such as the ones listed above – are open to anyone. We are especially in need of translators and people willing to distribute announcements and publicize the conference on all the languages and projects. Please leave a note on the translations page if you are able to help with this.
Wikimania is, first and foremost, an event for the community; please share your ideas and dreams for what the conference could be. Suggestions for the conference and general questions can be posted to the general discussion page. Comments about what you would like to see in this feature in coming weeks are also be welcome.