Conference Committee

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Information
Name Wikimedia UK Conference Committee
Founded May 2012
Members
Members

The Conference Committee is a committee formed to oversee the organisation of Wikimedia conferences in the UK. It is currently responsible for the 2014 Wikimania bid and WikiConference UK 2013.

The committee meets online monthly. The meetings will, where possible, be open to anyone and the minutes will be published on the WMUK wiki. To join the committee, simply attend one of its meetings and express your interest - you should also subscribe to the committee mailing list. Contact details for the committee members are available via the member's user pages, and also by an internally shared text document. The committee operates the http://www.wikiconferences.org.uk/ domain name.

Scope and remit

The Conference Committee's role is to take the lead in the organisation of conferences and other large events for Wikimedia UK. The committee is currently responsible for overseeing Wikimania 2014 (to be held in London in August 2014) and for the organisation of WikiConference UK 2013 (to be held in Lincoln on 8 and 9 June). The committee is happy assist with other events on request from the organisers.

Meetings

Lessons

Stuff we learned from running conferences (e.g. 2013 AGM).

  • Get speakers to provide their presentations up front
    • and load them onto the PC in the room they are presenting in Jonathan Cardy (talk) 19:43, 14 June 2013 (UTC)
    • As usual with conference presentations, I turned up half an hour before the start of the conference with my presentation on a USB stick, ready to load onto the presentation laptop, but questions about which screen we were using, which laptop would connect to that screen, how it would connect and be powered were not looked at until five minutes before the actual start of the conference. It was only then that it was discovered that there wasn't a cable long enough to reach the podium. If there had been some attention to this before the conference, things would have gone more smoothly. MartinPoulter (talk) 16:22, 29 June 2013 (UTC)
  • Test connectivity for all types of laptop/projector
  • Make sure that plug sockets are available for attendees
    • Were there problems with this? Obviously plug sockets are on the walls and the seating was in the middle of the room, but there were plenty of them and there were extension cables about. Harry Mitchell | Penny for your thoughts? 18:51, 18 June 2013 (UTC)
  • Lincoln is a pain to get to if you don't have a car - perhaps next time have it outside London, but in a major, easily accessible city rather than a small, picturesque city?
    • Ideally, it should be on a semi-formal rotation: eg. year 1 - major city in England / year 2 - Wales / year 3 - picturesque town in England / year 4 - Scotland, year 5 - major city in England, and on we go... This is something we've also discussed as a guiding pattern for the EduWiki conference. --Toni Sant (WMUK) (talk) 16:31, 14 June 2013 (UTC)
      • We've been alternating it, even years in London and odd years out of London. Next year, I guess it would make most sense to hold the AGM at Wikimania 2014 in London, rather than also doing a separate WikiConference... Mike Peel (talk) 16:43, 14 June 2013 (UTC)
        • Obviously we should put future non-London conferences where they're easy to get to. I thought Lincoln was relatively easy, being not far off the East Coast Main Line and in the middle of England (by latitude), but I know the staff ended up changing to a a local train 50 miles further south than normal. Harry Mitchell | Penny for your thoughts? 18:51, 18 June 2013 (UTC) 0
          • Lincoln is relatively easy to get to; however a lot of us got stung by the curse of the Engineering Work. Which obviously couldn't have been known about until it was too late. LondonStatto (talk) 08:03, 27 June 2013 (UTC)
    • Perhaps we should alternate between Manchester and London? Jonathan Cardy (talk) 19:43, 14 June 2013 (UTC)
      • I don't see any need to deviate from the pattern of alternating London and non-London yet. Especially as, as Mike notes, it would seem sensible to make next year's AGM coincide with Wikimania. LondonStatto (talk) 08:03, 27 June 2013 (UTC)
  • Break-out rooms were a little out of the way from the plenary room, so getting people to go to the break-out sessions was difficult.
    • If there is one session in the main room and a distant breakout room then you risk having no-one in the breakout session and half the audience in the main room being more interested in Coffee and gossip. Better to have a coffee area and two separate breakout rooms - though that does increase your minimum number of rooms to three. Alternatively make sure your "marmite sessions" are in the coffee area, that way you guarantee audiences in the breakout area. Jonathan Cardy (talk) 19:43, 14 June 2013 (UTC)
      • Forcing people to leave the plenary room for coffee isn't a bad idea, but it would restrict us to larger venues that have big plenary rooms and side rooms close together and these tend to be expensive, so it shouldn't be a dealbreaker. Harry Mitchell | Penny for your thoughts? 18:51, 18 June 2013 (UTC)
  • Note that registration form dictates name badge.
    • It would be nice if the form had options for what was to appear on the badge. e.g. Real name, user name, both, other. Maybe have similar set of options for paper and online delegate lists.
    • It would be nice from a Teller's point of view if there were something on delegates' badges denoting those attendees who are members. -- LondonStatto (talk) 23:35, 11 June 2013 (UTC)
      • Could we hand out ballot pages at the registration desk when they arrive - perhaps for both elections and resolutions? Having things like stickers on delegate badges isn't actually that useful when there a number of delegates present, as they can be rather difficult to spot (looking for 'do not photograph' stickers wasn't easy). Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 15:23, 13 June 2013 (UTC)
        • This wouldn't work if people are allowed to apply for and be approved as members up to a meeting that happens after registration starts, and in fact approved members were renewing their memberships right up to the point of vote. Perhaps what could happen is at the first order of business of the AGM session is members being checked as having a valid membership on Civi and issued the ballot paper and sticker for the reverse of their lanyard which they hold up when voting to indicate their vote is valid. The checking on Saturday was fairly swift I think? Katherine Bavage (WMUK) (talk) 15:54, 13 June 2013 (UTC)
          • They could be asked to return to the registration desk at the start of the AGM to check that their membership has been approved and to pick up their ballot papers - that would also help avoid the confusion people had at the start of the AGM about whether they'd been approved as members or not. The checking at the AGM was indeed very swift and effective, though, which was great (thanks tellers and staff!). Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 10:01, 14 June 2013 (UTC)
            • Because of photocopiers I would council against giving out ballot papers hours in advance, unless you've done something sneaky like numbering them or clipping them all with an unusual shaped clipper. Jonathan Cardy (talk) 19:43, 14 June 2013 (UTC)
              • Our tellers are sneaky - they numbered the ballot papers at this AGM. Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 20:46, 14 June 2013 (UTC)
            • The checking was efficient, it's true - but it still took five minutes that shouldn't have been necessary. Richard or I should have been able to go round the room during the initial speeches handing out the ballot papers which would have enabled people to return them immediately after the questions. I like the idea of handing out the ballot papers at the registratuion desk though. That might have some mileage. And yes, we are sneaky ;) LondonStatto (talk) 08:03, 27 June 2013 (UTC)
  • If dinner/drinks the evening before is contemplated, let all attendees know the place and time well in advance.

Comments from the staff meeting

Staff had a meeting on 16 June and all were asked to give one good and one thing to do better. Here is the summary of comments.

  • Nice that was time for hustings
  • Lincoln a lovely city but less accessible
  • Train difficulties were a total pain
  • Richard Nevell liked the castles
  • Not enough attendees
  • Not enough time for presentations to have questions - poorly organised conference program (AGM very good though).
  • Breakout sessions timing off, poor control of timings and signeage. More control of the speaker timings.
  • Do we want two tracks or one track
  • Good accommodation, convenient.
  • Nice venue.
  • Tours were good but did not impact at all on outreach
  • We MUST advertise to external, off-wiki audience in advance.
  • Venue could be ‘relevant’ to WMUK activities, e.g. a cultural institution
  • volunteers involved in organising and delivery

Feedback

See also

List of members

Others join us on an ad-hoc basis for particular conferences.

Related pages