On Thu, Nov 26, 2009 at 12:03 PM, Angela <bees...@gmail.com> wrote:

> > Have you got any official support from the chapter for this bid?
> As far as I'm aware, the chapter board has not said anything yet. My
> hope is that making the first step of putting up a bid page will
> generate some discussion amongst both the committee and members of
> Wikimedia Australia and of the wider community in order to work out
> whether this is the right thing to do and whether 2012 is the right
> time.
> Hosting Wikimania in Australia been discussed for many years now, and
> for me 2012 seems the ideal time for a bid. We've recently had a
> successful GLAM-WIKI conference, proving there are enough people here
> to make such an event work. It leaves us with all of 2010 and 2011 to
> make preparations and to host other smaller events to help build up
> the team prior to Wikimania in 2012.
> This is just the very first stage, and deliberately started early
> (most 2011 bids aren't up yet) in order to allow a lot of discussion
> and decision making. There's lots of time before anything needs to be
> finalised for the chapter and its members to put forward their views
> and to decide whether or not to support this.
> Angela

Thank you Delphine and Angela for your replies.
Craig (and everyone else) perhaps I can give a bit of background and see if
I can answer some of these questions.

Angela and I have been in discussions with Business Events Sydney (BES - the
new name for the Sydney Conventions Bureau) for a couple of months now. They
approached the committee several months ago seeking a meeting to look at the
feasibility of such a bid for Sydney - having watched the previous bid for
Brisbane. BES do not charge commission or promote certain companies etc.,
they are a State government and tourism industry funded body to provide
bidding support and advice in order to increase tourism to NSW.

The Chapter committee gave me permission/support to meet with and canvas
ideas with BES on an in-principle basis. I met with their representative
(who has been extremely diligent in learning about past Wikimanias and their
requirements, our culture and communication methods) and gave an outline of
what a Wikimania in Sydney would require. Initially they were asking about
2011 and I pushed the discussion to 2012. As Delphine mentioned, the key
ingredient in a successful Wikimania is not a Chapter per-se but a strong
local team. Of course, as a Chapter person myself I wouldn't push for it if
the Chapter wasn't itself keen. As for the number of Wikimedians in Sydney,
what I have noted at the past three Wikimanias is the vast majority of the
local volunteers were not in fact Wikimedians but sourced from local
friendly organisations (such as local university students). Furthermore,
given the turnout of the last couple of meetups in Sydney have been a
majority of "fist time meetup attendees" I am convinced we haven't seen the
potential of Sydney's Wikimedia community yet.

Subsequently to the first meeting, I sought committee approval to bring
Angela into the discussions too. I've been to the last 3 Wikimanias but
Angela is one of only about a dozen who have been to every single one (Tim
is also in this group). The BES rep, Angela and myself have looked over
initial quotes from a series of venues and visited locations in Sydney to
look at and talk with the venue managers. I hasten to add that this has
always been and remains on an "investigative level" - no official decision
to bid has been made by the committee, the chapter as a whole or even Angela
and myself as the bid-leads. Furthermore the fact of our investigation into
this issue at such an early date is a big advantage as it gives us time to
scope the possibility (I'd like to mention that Wikimedia UK is currently
preparing a bid for Manchester

Next week the three of us will be meeting with the bid leader of the
Free/Open Source for Geospatial (FOSS4G <http://2009.foss4g.org/>)
conference to get an idea of the feasibility. This was a conference run last
month at the Sydney convention centre and the bid was supported by BES. They
are a similar size to Wikimania and also a similar type of organisation
(FOSS geeks, volunteers etc.) and have similar types of requirements and
sponsorship potential. This will give us an increased understanding of the
feasibility and potential pitfalls. Finally, BES staff will be traveling to
the USA in the next couple of months on a general study tour. As part of
this trip they've offered to drop by the WMF office in San Francisco to
speak with a staff rep there about Wikimania and to learn more about our
culture and what such an event would require.

So, all in all the takeaways are:
 - permission has been sought from the Chapter committee for this early
 - no formal bid or decision to bid has been taken.
 - all investigations that have been made are ones that would need to be
made to make an informed decision anyway
 - Angela and I are trying to do this as professionally as possible so that,
in the event we as a community decide to bid, the planning is solid and not
merely based on a "lick and a promise".

Oh - Andrew's reply just came in. I'll respond to it here, rather than
trying to re-write my email :-)
As for Sydney being the venue being investigated (rather than Melbourne or
any one of the other cities in which we're active) a lot of it comes down to
BES being the people who contacted us first - several times might I add :-)
:-) If the Melbourne convention bureau had contacted us then we might have
been looking at that and there is nothing to preclude such investigations
too if someone from Melbourne is willing to lead such a bid. In fact - if
different states were looking at bidding it might make the state governments
start bidding against each other to see how much money they would sponsor us
with :-p

I hope that clarifies some things,

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