Unfortunate, but certainly the right call.


On Wed, Mar 18, 2020, 2:57 PM Katherine Maher <kma...@wikimedia.org> wrote:

> Dear everyone,
> As a part of the Wikimedia movement’s ongoing response to the COVID-19
> pandemic, we are postponing Wikimania Bangkok 2020. This decision was made
> with the full support of the ESEAP host team and Wikimania Committee.
> Together, we will hold Wikimania in Bangkok in 2021.
> We are filled with sadness to not see you all in Bangkok in August.
> However, we are confident that this is the best possible decision for the
> well-being of our global community and public health overall. This decision
> was proposed by the ESEAP organizers in line with their countries’ response
> to the COVID-19 pandemic and is in line with recommendations from the World
> Health Organization (WHO).
> You are certain to have many questions. We hope to answer some of your
> questions below. We will continue to answer questions on the Wikimania
> Meta-Wiki page and on the Wikimania Telegram group chat (more information
> below).
> *== What does “postponing” Wikimania mean? ==*
> We will not host an in-person Wikimania in 2020. We are rescheduling
> Wikimania Bangkok until 2021. The ESEAP organizing team[2] will continue
> their work as a regional collaborative between affiliates in the East,
> South East, and Pacific regions to host us in Thailand next year.
> The hotel and venue[3] in Bangkok will remain the same. We have not yet
> finalized dates for 2021. We will work with the ESEAP team and Wikimania
> Steering Committee to confirm new dates. We will let you know these dates
> by the end of 2020.
> The good news is that Wikimania 2021 will coincide with Wikipedia’s 20th
> birthday year. We expect this to be a truly memorable Wikimania -- an
> opportunity to celebrate reconnection after a year apart, along with the
> remarkable accomplishment of two decades of free knowledge.
> *== Will there be an alternative to the in-person event? ==*
> There are no plans by the 2020 Wikimania hosts to organize a virtual,
> online event. Hosting Wikimania is a lot of work. The ESEAP team is
> committed to hosting the best possible in-person event in Bangkok in 2021.
> Therefore, they will not have the capacity to organize a virtual Wikimania
> this year.
> However, the Wikimania committee, the ESEAP host team, and the Wikimedia
> Foundation all recognize that other members of the community may be
> interested in organizing a remote, global Wikimedia event for 2020.
> Although the Wikimedia Foundation does not have the capacity at this time
> to lead the organizing of a virtual online conference, we recognize others
> may have the desire to do so.
> We welcome discussion about online events. Interested parties are welcome
> to contact the Wikimania Steering Committee and Wikimania Foundation staff
> for advice on the Wikimania Meta-Wiki page[1].
> We are also considering proposals for improving the capacity of communities
> to organize local virtual convenings, and for how we can support
> communities in organizing impromptu local and regional Wikimedia events
> once the pandemic passes. As the situation has been changing rapidly we are
> still working on specifics and will share more information in the coming
> weeks.
> *== What does this mean for scholarship applications? ==*
> We are working on a plan for how to process Wikimania 2020 scholarship
> applications.[4] We will share more information in the coming weeks.
> *== How was this decision made? ==*
> This recommendation was made by the ESEAP organizers based on what we know
> about the current COVID-19 global health pandemic and current WHO
> guidelines. The decision was made together with the ESEAP team in
> consultation with the Wikimania Steering Committee and Wikimedia
> Foundation. Together we are fully and unanimously aligned around this
> decision.
> Although we are genuinely sad to not have the opportunity to see you all
> this year, we also are fully supportive of this decision in all of our best
> interests. It allows our ESEAP community hosts to focus on the immediate
> needs of their families, local Wikimedia communities, and local communities
> as a whole. It is in line with global public health guidance and aligns the
> Wikimedia movement as a responsible actor in support of our common public
> good.
> We want to thank all volunteers and affiliates that have been involved with
> planning Wikimania. We’re especially appreciative of the ESEAP for their
> leadership, flexibility, and compassion, as we have worked together to make
> some difficult decisions on this important event.
> *== Where can I learn more about Wikimania 2021? ==*
> There are a number of channels where Wikimania is regularly discussed and
> where plans for 2021 will be posted as they develop. We welcome all
> interested participants to bring together our collective wisdom and
> creativity to discuss what happens next with Wikimania. You can find these
> channels here:
>    - Wikimania wiki: https://wikimania.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimania
>    - Wikimania mailing list:
>    https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l
>    - Freenode IRC channel: #wikimania
>    - Telegram group chat: https://t.me/wikimaniachat
> *== Where can I learn more about COVID-19 and Wikimedia? ==*
> We know the Wikimedia community as generous and altruistic. Unsurprisingly,
> many volunteers have started applying their skills and attention to this
> current global pandemic. The Foundation created a page on Meta-Wiki where
> we can share and document the steps the Foundation and movement members are
> taking and ways to participate. We invite you to join us in documenting
> more about our collective response:
> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/COVID-19
> *== Thank you ==*Our world, and many of our lives, have changed rapidly
> over these past few weeks. Yet we can look to history to take comfort that
> crises are also often moments when people put aside differences, prioritize
> community and care, and find ways to connect. The sense of community and
> purpose within the Wikimedia movement is a powerful rejoinder to these
> uncertain times.
> This is a moment in which not only what we do, but how we do it, will make
> a meaningful impact on the world. We are so grateful for all that you do as
> a movement to continue to rise to the challenges of our moment.
> Please, stay safe and take care.
> Katherine, on behalf of the:
>    - ESEAP Core Organizing Team
>    - Wikimania Steering Committee
>    - Wikimedia Foundation Events Team
> P.S. You can help translate and share this message via Meta-Wiki: <
> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimania_2020>
> You can also find additional information about Wikimedia's other actions
> regarding COVID-19 on Meta-Wiki: https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/COVID-19
> [1] https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimania_2020
> [2] https://wikimania.wikimedia.org/wiki/2020:Organizers
> [3] https://wikimania.wikimedia.org/wiki/2020:Venue
> [4] https://wikimania.wikimedia.org/wiki/Scholarship_Committee
> --
> Katherine Maher (she/her)
> Executive Director
> Wikimedia Foundation <https://wikimediafoundation.org/>
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