WMF Planning Meeting December 17 2008/Minutes

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destination: WMF Planning Meeting December 17 2008/Minutes
source update: 2009-02-05

Present: Erik Moeller, Patti Melton, Phoebe Ayers, Cary Bass, Patricio Lorente, Carlos Barcenilla, Frank Schulenburg, Jay Walsh

Present at various times: Veronique Kessler, Daniel Phelps, Mary Lou Secoquian, Kul Wadhwa, Sara Crouse

The meeting began at 10:15 a.m. with introductions. Erik provided a brief overview of the agenda and went over a roles and responsibilities grid as a tool to designate individual and committee tasks and deadlines for action items. Phoebe kicked-off the discussion by noting 2009 would be the first time a formal Wikimania committee would be formed.

2008 Postmortem Review

PR/Communications - Jay stressed the importance of setting strategic story-telling goals and striving to create a single voice to present to the media. He believes this can be accomplished by:

  1. prepping the local community and volunteers to tell their Wikipedia stories
  2. local chapter building strong media relationships
  3. better organization and vision.

Finance – Veronique reported that Wikimania 2008 was very stressful on the Finance department and that many procedures and financial transactions were done under duress. She noted that the department does not have the capacity to manage all the financial details of Wikimania and the desire to have the local chapter do the accounting with a designated lead person in Buenos Aires.

Volunteers – Cary and Phoebe went over the scholarship program and problems from 2008 including insufficiently defined funding amounts and reimbursement procedures. There was also a discussion on the OSI grant restrictions and the leftover funds available for this year. It was determined that Sara would be the lead in writing the guidelines for this year's scholarship program.

Public Outreach – Frank urged the chapter to hold newbie-targeted workshops before and during the conference to help attendees without prior editing experience to become contributors, providing basic editing information and an introduction into Wikimedia in general. He also noted that volunteers needed to have an opportunity to share experiences from the projects. Frank also felt it is important to take some time during the conference to thank the volunteers for all that they do.

Program - Erik suggested many past attendees find the conference too internal and that an outreach track should be added to the conference program to interest and encourage newcomers. There was a general discussion about the possibility of an on-site “campus” as part of an educational track, providing a great opportunity for volunteer involvement and possible sponsorship opportunities. Phoebe stated although there has been controversy in the past about making the conference more public, she feels the community is more open to the idea now.

Patricio commented on the challenges they face giving every group (newcomers, volunteers, staff, etc.) attention or “space” during the conference, noting not all participants might want to attend the whole conference. They are considering the concept of running parallel tracks to attract a variety of attendees – teachers, for example. He also reported they are striving for bilingual presentations at least for the main portion of the conference.

Erik noted the need for a follow up discussion on the details of a separate space for outreach/education.

Phoebe went over how the program committee has worked in the past and the difficulties focusing on the point or theme of the conference with too many people involved. She urged the chapter to keep the program committee small and to be more thoughtful when inviting keynote speakers, with possibly an emphasis on speakers from the region. Patricio noted they are considering inviting Gilberto Gil, the ex-minister of culture, and that they intend to determine speakers based on the story we want to tell. There was a general discussion about the possibility of paying for speakers to attend. The need for a theme or tagline for the conference as well as the need for communal meeting space was also stressed.

Wikimania 2009

Patricio and Carlos went over a basic draft outline for the conference to be held August 25 – 29, 2009 at the Centro Cultural General San Martin in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The hotel under consideration is the Bauen Hotel, which is two blocks from the venue. Both are centrally located in the downtown area. Patricio also reported the Mayor of Buenos Aires may possibly do the welcome speech but that the government is clear they have no input in the program. Work has begun on linking the local team with sponsors and service providers including Lan airlines.



Patricio commented they have felt a bit isolated but they are ready to clearly define teams and responsibilities, administration of the budget and program committee duties. Phoebe asked that the chapter get a basic announcement out to the community as soon as possible and Patricio committed to getting their budget request to Veronique by January 15th.


Kul informed the group that sponsorship could be a challenge due to marketing budgets being slashed at many businesses but that he hopes to have a significant sponsor secured by the end of January. He will work with Jay to develop a platform and media packet to use to structure deals as strategic partnerships. He will also work with chapter to determine how they will meet deliverables and develop sponsorship model.


Sara asked Phoebe to give her a basic rundown of how sponsorships had been handled in the past and how they can best work to ensure a diverse group of applicants. Both Cary and Phoebe expressed frustration with the way scholarships had been handled in previous years. Phoebe noted the following as crucial to improving the process:

  1. good application software
  2. dedicated volunteers to help with travel arrangements
  3. quick, efficient process to ensure timing for Visas, etc.

Sara committed to setting up the scholarship committee by mid-January with the help of Phoebe and the local team. The scholarship committee will then set up application guidelines and begin the process. Phoebe also noted that chapters should be committed to pitching in and sending members.


Jay reiterated the need to take a more thematic approach to Wikimania 2009 and that messaging needs to align and be on point with a well-defined story. Patricio will work with Jay's support on materials & designs including a new logo. Jay also asked that a media center be designated at the conference as a separate, quiet space to keep the media somewhat manageable. Patricio agreed that Beatrice would be the local contact for media issues and that they will compile a local press list to share with Jay.

AV needs were discussed and Frank brought up the desire for high quality video footage. Patricio stated they do have chapter members who are professionals in this field and documentation of the conference will not be a problem. The possibility of Kaltura getting involved as far as video or audio streaming was also mentioned. Jay recommended that all photos & video be uploaded to one designated space easily accessible to reporters as well as the public.

It was agreed that the chapter would be responsible for updating the Wikimania wiki page with support from Cary and that volunteers would/could be asked to do the translations.

Everyone agreed that t-shirts are the most sought after swag at Wikimania conferences.

Program Committee

It was established that the Program Committee would be formed by the local chapter and volunteers with an emphasis on bringing in “new blood”. It was recommended that the local chapter go ahead and invite any keynote speakers they are considering and distribute the call for papers as soon as possible. It was also recommended that there be some kind of application process for prospective committee members. The target was to have a committee of 8 – 10 people formed by February 1.


The need to find Board & Advisory Board meeting space was discussed and time scheduled in to the agenda for these meetings.

Patricio agreed to distribute a detailed contact list of all chapter staff involved with the conference.

Erik agreed to distribute the roles and responsibilities grid.

The meeting adjourned at 5:20 p.m.