From a US perspective, even here in the global north we have plenty of
students and middle-class participants for whom $1500 in travel, food and
lodging plus 5 days away from work, family, or school amounts to a
significant or impossible sacrifice.
Perhaps someone could tell us the statistics for how many people have
attended Wikimania each year who were not WMF employees, FDC or WMF Board
members, scholarship recipients, or financially sponsored by WMF affiliates
or WEF. Of those people who pay 100% of their own costs plus the cost of
admission tickets, my guess is that many live within a day's travel time by
train, car, or bus.
I would hypothesize that thematic conferences also have a low percentage of
people who pay 100% of their own costs, but that regional conferences which
have lower travel costs for the average attendee receive modestly higher
percentages of unsubsidized attendance.
It seems to me that WMF finacial support for conferences, including
regional and thematic conferences, will continue to be the norm.
Whether $1 million is appropriate for Wikimania and whether a more modest
budget would be appropriate and feasable are different questions that merit
Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at:
New messages to: Wikimediaemail@example.com