Proposal:Develop an online Wikimania conference

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Strategic Priorities

Every proposal should be tied to one of the strategic priorities below.

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  1. Achieve continued growth in readership
  2. Focus on quality content
  3. Increase Participation
  4. Stabilize and improve the infrastructure
  5. Encourage Innovation


If not English, in what language is this proposal submitted?:

Summary

One of the possible lines of interest for the community and the Wikimedia project could be to establish a certain period in time to develop a conference not conditioned by physical presence, but an online parallel focus of interest and knowledge sharing around Wikimedia which could be entirely online, also pursuing the objectives of the Wikimania conferences. This would allow to share points of view, experiences and ideas to a much wider amount of wikipedians, researchers, wiki enthusiasts and free culture activists, on one hand, and on the other could lead to a much open process where all the papers, discussions and conclusions can be entirely accessible on the Web.

Proposal

To develop an organizational structure of distributed committees, areas of interest, participation processes and online solutions that allows to celebrate an online Wikimania which could last a couple of weeks, rather than 3 days. This way, any member of the community or researcher, anywhere in the world, could publish his communication (in text, video, slides or podcast format) and discuss it online with other participants.

Motivation

Wikimania is one of the key activities for strengthening the community and speeding up knowledge around Wikimedia projects, but it has logical limitations in the needing of displacing people around the world, as well as having only a small percentage of the community members which can present, share and discuss Wikimedia issues face to face. By his natural essence being an online project, Wikpedia and its other related projects may benefit from offering an online space designed and presented as a conference, which will have a program and a defined period for presenting, reviewing, discussing and summarizing ideas, researches, tendencies, problems, etc. This would help to achieve and complement Wikimania objectives by probably a smaller need of resources and investment, based as well in volunteer participation and coordination, and this way offering new ways for people to get involved in the progress and success of the project.

Key Questions

  • To integrate the distributed dynamics of crowdsourcing into a scalable process of obtaining, reviewing and discussing communications in an online platform.
  • To define areas of interests, topic areas, work groups, as well as committees and coordination teams for each of them. A network of roles and rules configuring a multiple process inspired in offline congresses.
  • The process would require a relatively small team or teams of dedicated members for coordinating volunteer committees, defining and executing a cronogram, developing an online platform (in this case, a Mediawiki one, with its necessary extensions), disseminating information and some other key tasks.
  • Open that process since the beginning (allowing potential participants to send suggestions for defining key issues), and also after the congress, where everything would remain published online (although not open for editions or comments once finished, since the idea of a congress -a temporary intense zone- requires to have the maximum possible amount of people interacting between certain dates).

Potential Costs

  • Coordination team
  • Web development
  • Web hosting
  • Press office

References

Since 2002 the Observatory for CyberSociety has launched 4 online congresses, the last one with more than 500 communications and 5.000 registered participants. At the moment its in its 4th one (when writing this) and after paper submission all the coordination volunteers are reviewing communications (more than 400) of its own groups (46 in total, distributed in 6 topic areas), there's a previous celebration of parallel online workshops, and between 12-29 of November discussions will take place at the online platform: http://www.cibersociedad.net/congres2009/en/.

In this case, all the information on how the experience is organized is being made available online as well, as an open project called "Living Congress".


Community Discussion

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