Thank you for beginning this important discussion!  I have the same
concerns as
others, especially around how this consultation fits into the decision
process.  This sentence from the introduction makes it sound very serious
maybe this was a misunderstanding? [1]

> The outcomes of this consultation will begin to be implemented starting
in 2018.

The participation was too low, the margin between "votes" too narrow, and
it seems
like a huge mistake to call this a "survey" but then synthesize the results
by tallying
the votes directly.  I can safely assume that the responses would have been
different if we had said from the outset that this was a binding,
democratic ballot.

The concerns raised with Option 3 (alternate years) touch on an issue so
central to
our work that I would personally interpret this as a blocker, a signal that
the plan
needs to be amended and put to another discussion before taking any steps
to implement:[2]

> ... some expressed that working relationships with individuals they are
> accustomed to seeing at Wikimania would be difficult to maintain if they
> could only meet every two years. Likewise, it may also be more difficult
> to initiate and maintain projects and initiatives where meetups at
> Wikimania are useful.

I have raved over the two Wikimanias I've had the chance to attend, they
stand out as
by far the most inspiring and engaging moments of my 3.5 years as a WMF
staffer.  In fact, I'd like to see many more such opportunities for staff,
editors and
other contributors to interact.  I would like to see the Wikimedia
Foundation spend
much more of its budget on directly supporting editors and promoting
growth (e.g. Teahouse, Wikipedia Library, Revscoring, Education Program),
and to
invest more in training for its staff, to help acculturate us to the
contributor community
and prevent an adversarial dynamic.

Problem 1 states that "it is difficult to know if Wikimania is meeting the
needs", but this survey isn't set up to answer that question.  Perhaps we
should try
to measure our success at meeting the movement's needs, and make projections
for how well these needs will be met under alternative scenarios, before
accidentally defunding something that might be working?  Anyway, cutting
back on
Wikimanias without a plan to provide a better substitute would be a huge



On Tue, Feb 9, 2016 at 10:09 AM, Chris Keating <>

> Just to add my thoughts on this. I think the whole discussion is quite a
> novel situation in WMF-Community relations, as we have never dealt with an
> issue quite like this before.
> Firstly the good (and even though this section is shorter, it's just as
> significant):
> 1) The WMF is consulting and discussing, not simply doing. This is a good
> thing (and hopefully it's possible to agree that it is a good thing, even
> if you disagree with the handling of the consultation, or indeed the
> conclusion reached). If you don't think it's a good thing, please compare
> it with say (for instance) the Haifa letter.
> 2) We do now have a clear statement of what benefits Wikimania brings the
> movement, which we didn't have before. Again, this is good. :-)
> However there are a few areas where I still have some concerns about the
> direction this is going:
> 3) I am still really unsure who is owning this process, either within the
> WMF or in general. Generally, I think clear responsibility and
> accountability *eases* difficult conversations and so far as I can tell
> they are  lacking in the conversation about "what should happen with
> Wikimania". Is it the WMF's view that Wikimania in its current form is
> broken and change is needed - if so who represents that view to the
> community? (Or if not, what *is* the WMF's view?) Equally, I am not really
> clear what the Wikimania Committee sees its sees its role as these days. In
> general I am all for ad-hoc groups going and doing things but I think we
> are some way past the limit of that model with Wikimania.
> 4) I don't see a 55-47 vote on a menu of 3 options as being a particularly
> strong indication of community consensus. Indeed, it's pretty clear there
> isn't a consensus, and it would be a shame if people proceeded on the basis
> that "There was a consultation and the answer was X - so we're doing X".
> That said, I would be really happy to hear voices from the WMF or the
> Wikimania Committee saying "The important factors we see are X, Y and Z.
> From the consultation showed lots of other people were thinking X and Y
> (though less Z) and P and Q were also important which we hadn't thought
> about. As a result, we are intending to do: This.
> Thanks,
> Chris
> On Tue, Feb 9, 2016 at 4:57 PM, Nathan <> wrote:
> > On Tue, Feb 9, 2016 at 10:54 AM, Risker <> wrote:
> >
> > > Hello Gerard, I believe the topic of capping costs is a reasonable one
> > > because, simply put, there are not unlimited resources within the
> > movement.
> > > Some of us have the financial wherewithal to attend "on our own dime",
> > but
> > > many of our colleagues from around the world are not in that position.
> >
> >
> > Let's stipulate that there isn't a lot of empirical evidence proving the
> > value of Wikimania to the movement. I think the same could be said for
> tens
> > of millions of dollars in WMF spending. Considering the comparatively
> tiny
> > cost of Wikimania, it makes much more sense to me for the WMF to put its
> > own operations through a cost/benefit crucible. This is just one more
> > example of the WMF being much more demanding on money spent outside the
> > organization than it is on internal spending.
> >
> > It doesn't appear that the options presented were really fair or that the
> > conclusions drawn from them can be considered supported; option 1 was the
> > "give WMF complete control" option, option 2 was "get rid of Wikimania"
> and
> > option 3 was "Have Wikimania every other year." I have to suspect that if
> > there was a "have Wikimania every year, don't give WMF control" option
> many
> > would have selected it.
> >
> > If a different organization decides to host its own Wikimania (and I
> don't
> > know that the WMF "owns" the name Wikimania) in 2018, I would happily
> > support that effort.
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